Wednesday, 10 July, 6pm at IALS

The Right Hon Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill CVO, Justice of the Supreme Court

The Journey to Fiscal Enlightenment – some personal thoughts on the interpretation of taxing statutes

For more information click here.


Annual Lord Renton Lecture
6 – 7 pm
Thursday, 21 November 2019

This year’s lecture will be given by The Rt Hon. The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd PC, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Title of lecture to be confirmed.


To download the slide presentation that accompanied Law Commissioner Prof David Ormerod QC’s lecture to the Society on 25 June 2018 click here


To watch a video of the talk given to the Society by Prof. Thomas Poole of the LSE on 19 March 2018, click here.


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The Statute Law Society organises lectures throughout the year.


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and other events that may be of interest to our members. 
For information on joining the Society click here


Wednesday, 10 July, 6pm

The Right Hon Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill CVO, 
Justice of the Supreme Court

The Journey to Fiscal Enlightenment
– some personal thoughts on the interpretation of taxing statutes


Lord Carnwath’s first involvement with tax law was on his appointment as Revenue Junior in the early 1980s. He will speak of his experience of coming to terms with the esoteric and (to him) wholly unfamiliar world of taxing statutes, new and old, and in particular of coping with the interpretative challenges of the Ramsay principle. He will contrast these early experiences with his more mature involvement as a judge at different levels of the hierarchy, up to the Supreme Court. He will offer some thoughts on more recent developments such as the tax law rewrite project and the GAAR, and perhaps some parting thoughts on the role of the CJEU.

Lord Carnwath became a Justice of The Supreme Court in April 2012.  After studying law at Trinity College, Cambridge, Lord Carnwath was called to the Bar (Middle Temple) in 1968 and took silk in 1985. He served as Attorney General to the Prince of Wales from 1988 to 1994.  He was a judge of the Chancery Division from 1994 to 2002, during which time (1999 to 2002) he was also Chairman of the Law Commission. Lord Carnwath was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2002. Between 2007 and 2012 he was Senior President of Tribunals and led the planning and implementation of the reforms of the tribunal system following the Leggatt report. 






10 May 2019


Conference Chair:  The Hon Mr Justice Garnham, Chairman of the Statute Law Society

Introduction:  The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP


Ian Forrester QC,  Judge at the General Court of the European Union
Brexit, the UK and EU Law in any Event

Professor Catherine Barnard,  Professor of European Law, University of Cambridge
Constitutional Legislation and Fundamental Rights after Brexit

Professor Aileen McHarg,  Professor of Public Law, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Legislating for Brexit in Scotland at Westminster and Holyrood

Chaired by Denis Edwards

Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC, Professor Aileen McHarg, Professor Catherine Barnard, Ian Forrester QC,
Brexit and Parliament: What have we learned?


19 November 2018

The 2018 Annual Lord Renton Lecture was given by Lady Hale of Richmond, President of the Supreme Court
Statute or case law: how should we develop the law?

15 October 2018

Professor Alison L. Young
Sir David Williams Professor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
“Statutory Interpretation in a Post-Brexit UK”

12 June 2018

Professor David Ormerod QC, Law Commissioner
The New Sentencing Code

19 March 2018

Professor Thomas Poole, London School of Economics
‘The Case for the Federative: A Foreign Relations Power for the Age of Statutes’
To watch the video recording of this talk click here.

5 March 2018

Elizabeth Gardiner, First Parliamentary Counsel
“Drafting Guidance: why bother?”
Joint event with the Study of Parliament Group held at the House of Lords

13 November 2017

2017 Annual Lord Renton Lecture – Sir John Laws. PC. “Statutory Interpretation: the Myth of Parliamentary Intent”.  IALS

9 October 2017

Prof Adam Tomkins MSP:  “Legislating Proportionately in the Mixed Constitution”.   IALS

8 May 2017

Prof Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Queen Mary School of Law, University of London) on “Legislating for Brexit”, covering three situations: the Referendum Act, the ‘Great Repeal Bill’, and the possibility of any ‘Continuation Bills’ in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. IALS. 

20 March 2017

Prof. Richard Susskind OBE. “The Future of Legislation: the impact of technology”.  IALS

28 February 2017

Lord Lisvane KCB DL.  “Why is there so much bad legislation?.  This was a joint event with Study of Parliament Group and took place at the House of Lords.

15 February 2017

Reflections on biosecurity legislation in developing countries: increasing market access or maintaining unequal terms of trade?   
Dr Robert Black, University of Greenwich.

29 February 2016

“A Recent Development in Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation in Australia”
Dr Christopher Walshaw, Central Queensland University

27 January 2016

Drafting of Criminal Justice Legislation
Professor John Spencer QC, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

25 January 2016

The 2015 Lord Renton Lecture was delivered by the Rt Hon. the Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe.  The text of his paper can be found in the Library.  ”As if …. The Wonderland of Statutory Hypotheses“.

12 October 2015

What Yemshaw Could Have Said
Donald L. Drakeman, Distinguished Research Professor, Program on Constitutional Studies, University of Notre Dame

Lady Hale’s judgment in Yemshaw v London Borough of Hounslow [2011] UKSC 3 set out to update the meaning of ‘domestic violence’, leading to the criticism from Professor Ekins and others that amending a statute by ‘judicial fiat’ thwarts the legislature’s intention.  The Supreme Court could have invoked Hansard to reach the same result. Donald DrakemanI will argue that, despite the continuing controversy surroundingPepper v Hart, the use of legislative history may be preferable to judicially updating statutory meaning, especially when the text was adopted just a few years before.

8 June 2015

Planning legislation: merely consolidated or completely overhauled?
Charles Mynors, Barrister.

16 March 2015

“Legislation as Aspiration: Statutory Expression of Policy Goals”
Professor David Feldman, Rouse Ball Professor of English Law, University of Cambridge.

23 February 2015

“Legislative Standards”
Professor Dawn Oliver, Emeritus Professor of Constitutional Law, University College London

26 January 2015

“Tort and the Legislature: Themes in an Evolving Relationship”
Professor Jenny Steele (York Law School) and Professor T T Arvind (Newcastle University).

10 November 2014

The Annual Lord Renton Lecture was delivered by Sir Christopher Greenwood CMG QC, Judge of the International Court of Justice.
“Drafting and iInterpretation – Reflections of an International Lawyer”

21 October 2014

A Colloquium on the Use of Hybrid Bills in Parliament for Major Infrastructure Projects.
Chair: Lord Justice Sales
Speakers: David Elvin QC, Liam Laurence Smyth, Simon Ricketts, Angus Walker
Held at the office of King 7 Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, London

17 March 2014

Dangerous Trends in Modern Legislation – Daniel Greenberg

24 February 2014

Scrutiny of terrorism laws: searchlight or veil?  David Anderson QC

27 January 2014

Ex post facto law.  Prof Neil Duxbury.  [If you would like an offprint of the published article on which this lecture was based, please apply to the SLS Administrator.]

28 November 2013

2013 Annual Lord Renton Lecture
“Respect for Law and Sausages”: how Parliament made Section 31 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 on the sale of employment rights.  
Lord Pannick QC

15 November 2013

2013 Statute Law Society Conference. Law and Alternative Solutions: Codification, Restatement, Common Law. Speakers: Prof Andrew Burrows QC, Prof Ian Dennis, Dr Deirdre Ahern, Prof Hugh Beale QC, Prof Robert Hazell.  Conference papers, where available, can be found in the Library section.

14 October 2013

Making the law easier for users: the role of statutes.  Richard Heaton, First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secreetary at the Cabinet Office.  

10 June 2013

Legislation, Users and the Web: and the future of the statute book.   John Sheridan, Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives.   

13 May 2013

Lord Norton of Louth
“Improving the legislative process – the continuing challenge”

25 February 2013

Graham Aaronson QC
“An Oxymoronic Endeavour?  A General Anti-Abuse Rule for taxation to give effect to the will of Parliament by overriding Parliament’s statutes.”

28 January 2013

Jonathan Swift QC
“Constitutional statutes: construction and legal adjudication”

26 November 2012

Annual Lord Renton Lecturem given by Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston QC of the Court of Justice of the European Union
“Through a Glass Darkly: Transposing EU drafting into English statutes – Choices, Teleology and True Meaning.”

15 October 2012

Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB QC and James Kessler QC
“Public and private drafting – comparing and contrasting objectives, problems, styles and approaches.”

18 June 2012

Professor Elizabeth Cooke, Law Commissioner
“Why is law reform so difficult?”

21 May 2012

Mr Justice Robert Sharpe, Judge of the Court of Appeal, Ontario
“The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and Lord Sankey’s “living tree” theory of interpretation”
This event was held jointly with Clarity.

19 March 2012

Philip Coppel QC
“The Data Protection Act 1998 and Personal Privacy”

20 February 2012

Professor Richard Bellamy
“The Democratic Legitimacy of International Human Rights Conventions: Parliament, Political Constitutionalism and the Hirst Case”

23 January 2012

William Robinson
“How to make EU legislation more accessible”

28 November 2011

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury MR
2011 Annual Lord Renton Lecture:  
“General, equal and certain: law reform today and tomorrow”

9 May 2011

Richard Ekins, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Yemshaw and the constitutionality of updating statutes”

31 January 2011

Paul Regan, Head of Resources, Olympic and Paralympic Security Directorate, Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, Home Office
“Enacting legislation – a civil servant’s perspective”

10 November 2010

Mr Stephen Laws CB, First Parliamentary Counsel
“Giving effect to policy in legislation – how to avoid missing the point”

9 October 2010

2010 Conference
“Legislation and the Supreme Court”
Supreme Court, Parliament Square, London

7 June 2010

Neville March Hunnings
“Legislative Form and the European Union”

10 May 2010

The Hon. Mr Justice Sales
“Rights-consistent interpretation of statutes under section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998″

22 March 2010

David Dodd BL
“Adhering to traditional methods for modern reasons: statutory interpretation in Ireland”

1 February 2010

The Hon Justice Susan Crennan QC, High Court of Australia
“Statutes and the Contemporary Search for Meaning”

24 November 2009

Lord Justice Elias
“The Rise of the Strasbourgeoisie: Judicial Activism and the ECHR”

27 May 2009

Professor Jeremy Waldron, New York University Law School and 2008-09 Fowler-Hamilton visiting fellow at Christ Church College, Oxford
“Interpretation, Textualism and the Citation of Foreign Law”

11 May 2009

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty
“How a lobbying group can affect legislation”

4 January 2009

Mr Justice Sales, formerly First Treasury Counsel, Common Law
“A comparison of the principle of legality and section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998″ 

28 November 2008

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
“Interpreting Statutes Today”

**** To read a copy of the inaugural Statute Law Society lecture given by Lord Renton in 1995 and entitled
“The Evolution of Modern Statute Law and its Future” - click here

28 November 2008

Rabinder Singh QC
“Interpreting Bills of Rights”

4 October 2008

Statute Law Society Conference, Belfast
“Presuming to Interpret – Basic Principles of Law in Statutory Interpretation”
Speakers:  Sir Brian Kerr, Prof. Stefan Vogenauer, The Hon. Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan, The Rt Hon Lady Justice Arden DBE, Richard Ekin and Jan van Zyl Smith (DPhil Candidates), George Gray (First Legislative Counsel, N.I.), Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Mr Justice Sales, Professor Brice Dickson.

8 June 2008

Murray Hunt, Legal Adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights
“Scrutinising legislation for human rights compatibility”

4 May 2008

Professor John Spencer QC
“Drafting of the Extradition Act”

25 February 2008

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC
“Terrorism: Statutes v Politics”

1 October 2007

Professor Ross Charnock, University of Paris
“Prototypes and stereotypes: meaning and reference in the language of the law”

2 July 2007

Philip Bovey, Former Director, Company Law Project, DTI
“A damn close run thing: the Companies Act 2006″

14 May 2007

Dr Roderick Munday, University of Cambridge
“Explanation and Interpretation of Statutes: the Role of the Explanatory Notes”

26 February 2007

Peter Graham Harris
“The Making of the Children Act: a Private History”

7 December 2006

Lord Hope of Craighead
“Voices from the Past – the Law Lords’ contribution to the legislative process”

2 November 2006

Justice Keith Mason, President of New South Wales Court of Appeal, Australia
“The intent of legislators: how judges discern it and what they do if they find it”

16 October 2006

Sir Edward Caldwell KCB QC
“Who did the Act? And how?
(A discussion of some aspects of the preparation of legislation, particularly in relation to constitutional legislation which cuts across existing structures and engages a number of government departments, with an occasional look back at the European Communities Act 1972 and other Acts)

16 October 2006

Professor Reinhard Zimmermann, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
“Law Reform in Germany: Experience with the Recent Modernisation of the Law of Obligations”

8 March 2006

John McCluskie, CB, QC
“Recollections and Reflections of the former First Scottish Parliamentary Counsel”

6 March 2006

Professor Judith Freedman, University of Oxford
“Interpreting Tax Statutes:  is successful tax avoidance a contradiction in terms?”

1 March 2006

“Post-Legislative Scrutiny”
A panel-led discussion organised jointly by the Law Commission and the Statute Law Society
Panel:  Sir Edward Caldwell, Mr Justice Toulson, Lord Newton of Braintree, Paul Jenkins and Francesca Quint

20 February 2006

Javan Herberg and Phillip Coppel
“The Big Chill:  Swimming on Hampstead Heath and the Spectre of Public Safety”

30 January 2006

Professor Vernon Bogdanor, University of Oxford and Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC, University of London
“The Constitution, the Parliament Acts and Jackson v Attorney-General”