fall 2013

A Tribute to the Right Honorable Lord Woolf

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Lord Woolf - Biography

Lord Woolf, a man of many talents and sharp intellect, experienced an exemplary rise in the British legal system -- UCL Laws, University College of London (1954), as a barrister (1955), a judge (1979), a law lord, being created a life peer as Baron Woolf of Barnes in the London Borough of Richmond (1992), Lord Justice of Appeals, Master of the Rolls (1996), Lord Chief Justice (2000), and ultimately, following the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the first President of the Courts of England and Wales.

A distinguished and highly esteemed personality, he has always been outspoken on causes of justice, compassion and moral rectitude, and was bold in expressing criticism where he deemed necessary.

His report on the British Prison System for the Government is still regarded as a ground-breaking blue print for a secure, efficient and humane rehabilitative prison system. His reforms sought to make litigation more accessible and less expensive and they have had a profound impact on civil justice ever since they were introduced in 1999. He is patron of the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust.

Lord Woolf is a member of Blackstone Chambers, an accredited mediator, and a Chartered Arbitrator (Cairn). In September 2009 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the IAM (International Academy of Mediators). His report "Access to Justice" transformed English Civil Procedure and was a catalyst for the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Lord Woolf has served as a member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and was Chairman of the Subcommittee of Members' Interests. From 2006-2009 he chaired the Bank of England Financial Markets Law Committee.

His broad range of activities includes significant impact abroad. He served as a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong in 2003-2012, and in 2006 became the first President of the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court, from which he retired in October 2012. In 2008, the Woolf Committee produced its report, "Ethical Business Conduct in BAE System plc - The Way Forward". Lord Woolf also chaired an independent inquiry into the London School of Economics' relationship with Libya and with Saif Gaddafi, published in 2011. He chaired the network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the EU Working Group on mediation.

He is Patron of The Woolf Institute in Cambridge which combines the theology of all three Abrahamic faiths with the social sciences and humanities to help strengthen the ethical framework needed for political, economic and social life.

Loord Woolf has been serving as Chancellor of the Open University of Israel since 2004. His astute insight, his tireless devotion to the Open University, his dedication to disseminating higher education throughout Israel and his respected reputation contributed to enhancing the Open University of Israel and the myriad facets of its work. He holds honorary degrees from twelve universities and is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Medicine, of UCL and the US College of Trial Lawyers and is an Honorary Member of the American Law Institute.

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