Garden Court pays tribute to the life and work of Sir Henry Brooke, who has died, aged 81.
We found him to be a listening judge and fair in his judgments. He was a tireless campaigner in support of legal aid funding and access to justice. Members of Garden Court had the privilege of working with Sir Henry on the Bach Commission and its report on the impact of legal aid cuts. The Bach Report recommended minimum standards on access to justice and proposed widening the scope of legal aid in a number of areas.
Sir Henry was a former member of the Garden Court Mediation Panel and a great supporter of mediation’s place in dispute resolution.
Diversity is an issue that Sir Henry felt strongly about. He led the Bar Council on race relations, chairing its professional standards committee in 1987-1988 and, as a High Court judge, chaired its race relations committee in 1989-1991. His committee’s recommendation saw the Bar appoint its first equal opportunities consultant. He was also the first chair of the Ethnic Minorities Advisory Committee of the Judicial Studies Board (1991–1994), which introduced diversity training into the Board’s training programmes.
He was determined that the public should have free access to judgments as soon as they have been approved by the court. He was instrumental in establishing Bailii as was one of their first trustees and went on to be appointed chair of Bailii.
He was humorous, compassionate and self-effacing. Our condolences go to his friends and family for their sad loss. He will be greatly missed.