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Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 15:00 GMT


Profiles: The seven 'Pinochet judges'



The seven law lords whose job it was to rule on whether General Augusto Pinochet should face extradition, range from "conservative" to "moderniser". All are cross-benchers in the House of Lords, which means they have no political affiliation.


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Lord Browne-Wilkinson

Voted against Pinochet

Age: 68
Educated: Magdalen College, Oxford
Background: Called to the Bar in 1953; knighted in 1977; a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary since 1991. Now a Senior Law Lord.

Described as a "liberal but safe", significantly, considering the nature of the Pinochet case, is his status as governor of the British Institute of Human Rights.

In 1993 his judgement helped settle the case of Anthony Bland, the Hillsborough victim who was left in a vegetative state by his injuries. He ruled doctors were under no duty to continue medical care since there was would be no "affirmative benefit" to Mr Bland in continuing with treatment - therefore doctors would "not be guilty of murder if they discontinue such care".


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Lord Goff of Chievely

Voted for Pinochet

Age: 72
Educated: New College, Oxford
Background: Called to the Bar in 1951; knighted 1975; recently stood down as a Senior Law Lord.

Described as a "moderate", he also ruled in 1993 that Anthony Bland should be allowed to die. He once said the law lords had freedom to "mould and remould the authorities to ensure the practical justice is done within the framework of principle". He retired in October but is still eligible to hear appeals.


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Lord Hope of Craighead

Voted against Pinochet

Age: 60
Educated: St John's College, Cambridge
Background: Became a QC (Scotland) 1978; a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1996.

The youngest of the seven, his meteoric rise saw him leapfrog Scottish judges to become Lord Justice General of Scotland in 1989 without having ever been a judge. He is described as a "lively liberal".


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Lord Hutton

Voted against Pinochet

Age: 67
Educated: Balliol College, Oxford
Background: Called to Northern Ireland Bar 1954; knighted in 1988; Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1997.

Regarded as the most conservative of the panel, he did however recently uphold rights to peaceful protest and take part in demonstrations on the public highway where they do not obstruct other road users.


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Lord Saville of Newdigate

Voted against Pinochet

Age: 62
Educated: Brasenose College, Oxford
Background: Called to the Bar 1962; a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1997.

From a commercial law background, Lord Saville is currently chairman of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which is re-examining the events of 30 January 1972, when soldiers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry, causing 14 deaths. He is described as "middle of the road".

Lord Millett - Voted against Pinochet

Age: 66
Educated: Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Background: knighted in 1986; created a Law Lord under 1876 Appellate Jurisdiction Act in July 1998.

Called a "conservative" by The Times on appointment and thought to be the highest ranking Freemason in the judiciary, he is nevertheless described as "middle of the road". Critics argue that he does not have enough experience of human rights law, since his main field is commercial law.


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Lord Phillips of Worth-Matrabers

Voted against Pinochet

Age: 61
Educated: Kings College, Cambridge
Background: Called to the Bar in 1962; QC 1978; knighted in 1987; Judge of the High Court of Justice 1987-95; created a Law Lord at the beginning of 1999.

Described by The Times as "likeable and witty", a "moderniser" and a "hands on" judge, he is currently heading the inquiry into the BSE crisis. At the helm of the 1995 Maxwell trial, his conduct was described as "faultless".

During the Maxwell trial, he broke with tradition and introduced a new court day of 0930-1330, with legal arguments in the afternoon - so that the jury did not have to concentrate all day. He also made use of the computer system in court. In a survey by Legal Business, he was one of the three most popular judges with lawyers.



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