Careers in Law

19th March 2018

News, Alumni news

Wadham lawyers past and present gathered to celebrate the careers of two distinguished alumni, Lord John Dyson (Classics, 1961) and Sir James Munby (Law, 1967).

Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls, retired in 2016 and Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, is to retire in July 2018.

Over 70 members studying or working in the field of Law returned to College on a snowy evening to celebrate the occasion. Neil Mirchandani (Law, 1983), President of the Wadham Law Society, welcomed guests and spoke about the careers of Lord Dyson and Sir James.

John Dyson came to Wadham from Leeds Grammar School in 1961 to read Greats (Classics), graduating in 1966.  He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1968 and joined Keating Chambers.  He took Silk in 1982 and in 1986 became Head of 39 Essex Chambers.  He had a wide private law practice, initially in construction law but later broadened to a general common law, commercial law and sports law.  He went onto the High Court in 1993 and was the judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court from 1998-2001 when he became a Lord Justice of Appeal.  He was Deputy Head of Civil Justice from 2003-6.  In 2010 he became a Justice of the Supreme Court but in 2012 became the Master of the Rolls, until his retirement in 2016.  He was Treasurer of the Middle Temple in 2017.

John became President of the Wadham College Law Society in succession to Lord Nolan and is an Honorary Fellow of the College.  He has been similarly honoured by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.  He has Honorary Doctorates from UCL and the Universities of Leeds and Essex.

James Munby came to Wadham from Magdalen College School in 1967 to read Law. He graduated in 1970 and later that year was awarded the Eldon Scholarship.  He was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1971 and took Silk in 1988, becoming a High Court judge in 2000, being assigned to the Family Division and the Administrative Court.  From 2009 to 2012 he was Chairman of the Law Commission.  He became a Justice of the Court of Appeal in 2009 and in 2013 was appointed President of the Family Division. He is an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College.

Both Lord Dyson and Sir James Munby have taken part in College events since leaving Wadham. Among recent events Lord Dyson chaired the 2013 alumni Circles’ Debate on membership of the European Union and Sir James Munby was one of a panel judging the grand final of the 2015 Oxford Disability Mooting Championship, organised by Wadham students.

More photos from this event

  • Sir James Munby

    Sir James Munby

  • Lord John Dyson

    Lord John Dyson

  • Sir James Munby with finalists at the Herbert Smith Freehills Disability Mooting Championship, 2015.