Lord Denning and the Nigerian Jurists – Abdulrasheed Ibrahim Esq

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Lord Denning

In the history of English Law and Jurisprudence, I have not seen a judge or personality that has made remarkable impact on the development of English Law than LORD DENNING of blessed memory. Lord Denning lived for 100 years (1899-1999). I doubt if there is any student of law or practitioner of law in the Commonwealth of Nations that will claim ignorant of the great MASTER OF ROLLS. The Baron of White Church was so brilliant and prolific that some of our Nigerian literary law giants and jurist have been likened to him. In the book PEOPLE IN THE NEWS published in the year 2000 by Independent Communication Ltd which surveyed the great Nigerians of the 20th Century, Hon. Justice Akinola Aguda of blessed memory was referred to as the NIGERIA’S LORD DENNING. Professor Sagay once said Hon. Justice Kayode Eso also of blessed memory combined the attributes of Lord Denning. Hon. Justice Niki Tobi of blessed memory was also placed on the same pedestrian with Lord Denning. Hon. Justice Onalaja who died very recently called himself one of the disciples of Lord Denning. Apart from leaving behind many judgments that have stood the test of time, Lord Denning wrote several books series that are compelling reading. Among his books are THE DISCIPLINE OF LAW; WHAT NEXT IN LAW; THE CLOSING CHAPTER, LEAVES FROM MY LIBRARY and THE FAMILY STORY.

It was in THE FAMILY STORY that he made this assertion that:
“Judges do not speak, as do actors, to please. They do not speak as do advocates, to persuade. They do not speak, as do historians, to recount the past. They speak to give judgments. And in their judgments you will find passages which are worthy to rank with the greatest literature which England holds.”

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In the book LAW PRACTICE KIT, we have tried to prove the Lord Denning right by looking at the various REMARKABLE PRONOUNCEMENTS by all our Supreme Court Jurists from 1956 – 2016. One of the lessons that can be learned from the life and time of Lord Denning is that if you devoted your life and time to reading, learning and writing, you are bound to leave behind the legacy that will outlive you and immortalise your name. Many jurists and practitioners of law including law lecturers and writers cannot do without quoting Lord Denning because he was not only an oracle of law but a great phenomenon.

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