The American 

Law Institute 88th Annual Meeting, May 16-18, 

2011. San Francisco

The Right Honourable the Lord Phillips of
Worth Matravers

Nicholas Addison Phillips, The Right Honourable the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, is the first president of The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He attended Bryanston School in North Dorset, England, where he studied classics. After serving in the Royal Navy and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves as a commissioned officer, he studied law at King’s College, Cambridge, from 1958 to 1961.

In 1962, Lord Phillips was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple, where he was the Harmsworth Scholar. He practiced as a barrister from 1962 to 1987, specializing in admiralty and commercial work. From 1973 to 1978, he was the Junior Counsel to the Ministry of Defence and to the Treasury in maritime and admiralty matters.

Lord Phillips was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978 and served as a Recorder from 1982 to 1987. He served as a Judge of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, from 1987 to 1995, where he sat in the Commercial Court and presided over two complex and high-profile fraud cases: the Barlow Clowes case, leading to the conviction of Peter Clowes for an investment fraud, and the Maxwell prosecution, in which Robert Maxwell’s sons Kevin and Ian were among defendants acquitted of conspiracy to defraud pension funds. Promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1995, Lord Phillips was elevated to Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in January 1999. He chaired the inquiry into the causes of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (“mad cow disease”) crisis. He was appointed Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice in June 2000, a post that he held until 2005. 

In October 2005, Lord Phillips was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. In October 2008, he became the Senior Law Lord, the head of the judicial branch in the House of Lords. He became president of the new UK Supreme Court when it assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords in October 2009. His position as president is equivalent to that of Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lord Phillips is an Honorary Fellow of The Society for Advanced Legal Studies, an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and President of the British Maritime Law Association. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from the Universities of Exeter, Birmingham, and London and the International Institute of Maritime Law, and of Doctor of Civil Law from City University, London. He currently serves as Chancellor of Bournemouth University in the county of Dorset.

Lord Phillips lives in Hampstead, London, with his wife, Christylle Marie-Thérèse Rouffiac, with whom he has two daughters, a stepson, and a stepdaughter. He enjoys swimming, hiking, and bicycling.

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