Tom Bingham Memorial Essay Prize 2018

Every year the Tom Bingham Essay Prize provides the opportunity for OU Law Students at all levels to honour the work of the Rt Hon the Lord Bingham of Cornhill (1933-2010), best known for his book ‘The Rule of Law‘. This year is no different, and thanks to Lord Binghams’ former ‘Fountain Court Chambers’ who have sponsored this competition, we are happy to confirm that £500 is up for grabs in prize money.

After much deliberation, the OULS and the OU Law School have agreed upon an essay question that tackles an ongoing concern – ‘access to justice’. Whilst this year’s presentation ceremony and judge is yet to be confirmed, last year our winners were awarded their cheques by none other than Sir Nicholas Forwood QC at the OU’s Annual Law Lecture in London.


The much anticipated question is:

In “The Rule of Law”, Tom Bingham identified access to justice as a core principle of the rule of law:

“Means must be provided for resolving, without prohibitive cost or inordinate delay, bona fide civil disputes which the parties themselves are unable to resolve”.

Bingham, T. (2011) The Rule of Law, Penguin, UK, p.85.

Can court fees ever be consistent with access to justice and the rule of law?


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.


Prizes – Sponsored by Fountain Court Chambers

The prizes for the winner and runners-up will be awarded on Tuesday 17th April 2018 at Church House, Westminster London. These have kindly been donated by Lord Bingham’s former chambers. Fountain Court Chambers are a long established and substantial set of commercial barristers, based in the Temple, London and have a distinguished record of being involved in cases making new law. As well as an award winning chambers, Fountain Court offers a very attractive Training and Pupillage Award to the best and brightest candidates regardless of their background.


If you are looking at ways to enhance your CV, testing your academic and written skills, and earning some cold hard cash in doing so, then please do enter this prestigious competition soon. The deadline for entries is the 12th March 2018. The full question can be found here, and the competitions’ terms and conditions can be found here.

We wish you all the best of luck!


Written by:

James Sudworth – OULS Chair


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