The Splendid Legacy of Miss Emma Hamlyn

Readers of Slaw may have come across the small volumes that have been published annually for over sixty years – the Hamlyn Lectures. They resulted from an application for directions before Mr. Justice Wynn-Parry of a Trust resulting from the Last Will and Testament of Miss Emma Hamlyn. They’re delightfully accessible general talks on various aspects of English and comparative law.

And the older volumes of the series are now available from the University of Exeter Law School website. CUP is publishing the current volumes.

Miss Hamlyn bequeathed the residue of her estate to her executors as trustees

“upon trust to apply the income of the Trust Fund in the futherance by lectures or otherwise among the Common People of this Country of the knowledge of the Comparative Jurisprudence and the Ethnology of the Chief European countries including our own and the circumstances of the growth of such Jurisprudence to the intent that the Common People of our Country may realise the privileges which in law and custom they enjoy in comparison with other European Peoples and realising and appreciating such privileges may recognize the responsibilities and obligations attaching to them.”

That legacy has had quite a result. Slaw readers might enjoy Chief Justice Bora Laskin on The British Tradition in Canadian Law over the New Year.

The other lectures available free online are by: The Rt Hon Lord Denning; Richard O’Sullivan; Professor F H Lawson; Professor A L Goodhart; Sir Carleton Kemp Allen; Professor C J Hamson; Professor Glanville Williams; The Rt Hon Lord Devlin; The Rt Hon Lord MacDermott; Professor Sir David Hughes Parry; C H S Fifoot; M C Setalvad; Professor Sir Thomas Smith; The Rt Hon Sir Robert Megarry; The Baroness Wootton of Abinger; Dean Erwin N Griswold; The Rt Hon Lord Tanley; The Rt Hon Lord Kilbrandon; The Rt Hon O D Schreiner; Professor H Street; The Hon Bora Laskin; Henry Cecil; Professor Sir Rupert Cross; Professor Sir Otto Kahn-Freund; Sir Kenneth Wheare; The Rt Hon Lord Scarman; Sir Desmond Heap; Sir Robert Micklethwait; Lord Mackenzie Stuart; Professor Sir Norman Anderson; Professor Lord McGregor of Durris; Professor Sir William Wade; Hubert Monroe; Professor Tony Honoré; Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone; Sir Gordon Borrie; Professor Ralf Dahrendorf; Sir Jack Jacob; P S Atiyah; J C Smith; The Rt Hon Lord Justice Woolf; Dr Claire Palley; Gordon Slynn; Professor Richard Abel; Lord Mackay of Clashfern; Professor William Twining; The Hon Mrs Justice Hale; The Rt Hon The Lord Cooke of Thorndon; Professor Roy Goode; The Rt Hon Lord Justice Sedley; Michael Zander QC; Anthony King; Andrew Ashworth QC; Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws; Hon Justice Michael Kirby; Sir Bob Hepple QC.



  1. Gary P. Rodrigues

    Simon’s post on the Hamlyn Lectures brought to mind fond memories of attending one of the lectures. The speaker was Hubert H. Munroe, the year was 1981 and the subject was “Intolerable Inquisition? Reflections on the Law of Tax”. Stevens & Sons, the publisher of the Lectures, was a part of ABP (Associated Book Publishers) along with Sweet & Maxwell and The Carswell Company Limited, my employer at the time. It was the practice to invite colonials to grand occasions when visiting the head office and this was indeed a grand occasion.

    The lecture was given at Chartered Accountants Hall, a palatial building in the Italian Renaissance style, and was followed by a splendid dinner in a great hall at a table laden with silver. Needless to say, as the only colonial present, I sat at the foot of the table next to the Scottish and the Irish members of the Board of Trustees.

    The ceiling was covered in what appeared to be a biblical theme. We spent a wonderful evening speculating on themes that would resonate with accountants. It proved to be great entertainment. The lecture wasn’t bad either.