Whatever area of law you may practise, it could not have been left untouched, directly or indirectly, by the decisions of Lord Hoffmann.
This book, consisting of 19 academic essays by Lord Hoffmann’s current and past colleagues from Oxford University, was originally delivered at a conference celebrating his 80th birthday. It examines his jurisprudence across a wonderfully broad spectrum of private and public law.
This is a refreshing and truly interesting read, making some complex concepts accessible, bringing many seminal cases to life, and bearing testament to the extraordinary intellectual breadth and clarity of mind of one of the greatest and most important jurists.
What distinguishes this Festschrift is that it provides an engaging and balanced view of the many decisions. Some essayists disagree with Hoffmann, while examining the impact of his decisions on the current state of the law or its future development.
The subjects tackled include corporate attribution, an area in which Hoffmann provided ‘sensible judicial scrutiny’, moving away from the ‘directing mind and will’ approach to a contextual one. There is also a riposte on the question of whether human rights are culturally determined.
Edited by Paul S Davies and Justine Pila
Hart Publishing (£50)
The book also covers the meaning of commercial contracts, with an examination of the well-known principles set out with typical ‘clarity and lucidity’ in Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society  1WLR 895, and looks at ‘problems concerning the correct approach to interpretation’ which continue to trouble the highest courts.
Other cases include Hoffmann’s influence on proprietary estoppel, his ‘potentially seminal contribution’ in Walton v Walton, and on employment law, where a rare foray resulted in ‘one of the most notorious and controversial judgments of the twenty-first century’ (in Johnson v Unisys Ltd).
With the debates lively, relevant and current, there is something here for every lawyer. What is more, the book gives a clear impression of the ‘contextual’, ‘sensible’, ‘principled’ approach Lord Hoffmann brought to these cases.
Sally Azarmi is a solicitor and founder of Azarmi & Company Ltd