Lord Kerr RIP
Tribute to former Justice
1 December 2020
Lord Reed, President of the Supreme Court, said:
"The court learned earlier today, with great sadness, of the death of our former colleague Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, who retired as a justice of the Supreme Court only two months ago, at the age of 72.
"Justices and staff alike are shocked by the news, and we offer our deepest sympathy to Lady Kerr, her children and their families. They are all in our thoughts at this time, and we send them our condolences.
"Brian Kerr had the most distinguished of legal careers. As a barrister in Northern Ireland he served as Crown Counsel for a period of 15 years. He became a High Court judge at the age of 44, at a time when the decision to serve as a judge in Northern Ireland required courage and a strong sense of duty. He served on the High Court for 11 years, and then for five years in the extremely demanding role of Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. In 2009 he was appointed to the House of Lords as the last Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and later that year he became one of the first justices of the Supreme Court.
"Through his judgments and during hearings, Brian demonstrated his strong and instinctive sense of justice, and his thoughtful and principled approach to resolving legal problems. He will never know the full extent of the impact which his considerate, good-humoured and encouraging nature had on the court, the staff of the court, and his judicial colleagues. Nor will he ever know the full extent of the impact which his judgments had on the society we serve: in Northern Ireland, in the rest of the United Kingdom, in Europe through his service as an ad hoc judge on the European Court of Human Rights, and in the many jurisdictions around the world for which the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council serves as the final court of appeal. But he has left us a legacy which will be drawn on well into the future.
"Brian was a deeply valued colleague, a kind and modest man of the utmost integrity, who will be deeply missed by all those who had the pleasure of working with him."
In memory of Lord Kerr, the Supreme Court flag has been lowered to half-mast today (1 December) and tomorrow (2 December).