Tom Bingham Memorial Essay Prize 2017

Every year, the OULS and the OU Law School commemorate the Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill (1933-2010), otherwise known as Tom Bingham, author of the infamous ‘Rule of Law’ that is a staple of all law student’s book collections. This annual commemoration is held in the form of a privately funded Essay Competition, to which the winner will receive £250 and two runners-up will receive £100 each!

The deadline for entries is 5pm on 31st January 2017 and the prizes will be awarded at the Open University Law School annual lecture on 25th April. You too could add a well-deserved accolade to your CV or placement scheme application like last year’s winners Tom McAhon, Imran Darboe and Ryan Gallagher. You will also gain the chance to network and meet some top names within the legal industry at the award ceremony.


Photo of Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill

Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill

The Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill (1933-2010) was a British barrister and judge (pictured). He served as Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and as Senior Lord of Appeal.  He had been described as ‘one of the world’s most acute legal minds’. In 2011 his book The Rule of Law won the Orwell Prize for political writing.


The Question:

“A constitution should reflect the will of the clear majority of the people, and a constitutional change… should be made in accordance with that will or not at all”.

(Bingham, T., 2011. The Rule of Law. Penguin UK, p. 168.)

The repeal of EU law is widely considered to invoke a constitutional change in the United Kingdom (UK). Other significant changes to the UK constitution have been made without reference to a referendum.

With reference to the European Union (EU) referendum and the rule of law, evaluate whether in the UK constitutional changes are made in accordance with the will of a clear majority of the people.



Every year’s question has aimed to capture a recent development in law, and this year is no different. In light of Brexit, and the legal implications that the EU referendum result has had on the population, I don’t think a more relevant question could have been produced.

Advice and further information on the competition can be found here, however as I am sure you are all well versed writers, and ‘hander-inners’ of many a TMA, I will not bore you with advice on how to best structure or write a winning essay. Instead, I will leave you all to your pens (or iPads) and wish you the very best of luck.

This Essay Competition is extremely important to the OULS, and we hold all of the good work that the Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill has done for law, close to our hearts. We therefore hope that you too will increase the ever growing number of entrants, and in doing so, honour his name.


Further Reading…

Please visit the Open University Law School’s dedicated Tom Bingham Memorial Essay Page for all of the competition rules, eligibility and further guidance on how to submit entries.

For any questions about the competition, please contact who will be able to answer you, or direct you to the relevant person.


Written by James Sudworth – OULS News Editor



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