LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL, LORD CHIEF JUSTICE
Roy Goode's professional career has been remarkable in many ways: in the volume and range of his scholarly output; in his ability to make things happen; in his remarkable gift for inducing the wealthy to appreciate that the charitable cause to which, of all others, they would like to give money is that for which Roy is soliciting donations. But it has been remarkable also in a way which may, in the long run, prove more important even than these.
To an extent probably without parallel in any common law country, the law in England and Wales has been marked by a deep division between those who study and teach law in the universities and those who practise it in the market-place. This is a source of weakness. Despite their huge contribution to the systematization and the literature of the law, academic lawyers tend to feel marginalized and somehow irrelevant. Practitioners for their part have tended to be sparing in their reference and grudging in their acknowledgement to the legal literature, very largely written by academics on which so much of their argument and so many of their decisions depend.
Roy Goode has straddled this divide. For 17 years he practised full-time as a solicitor in a well-known firm. On becoming a professor at Queen Mary College, he remained a consultant to the firm, for another 17 years; and when he retired as a consultant, it was to become a barrister. This practical initiation in the law has, surely, had a profound effect on the course of Roy's scholarly interests: hire-purchase, conditional sale, equipment leasing, consumer credit, insolvency, banking, factoring, the recovery of judgment debts in the county court, arbitration and, of course, pensions. These are important topics, of great practical significance to many people, but they are not topics which loomed large in law school syllabuses 25 years ago.
Queen Mary College, and in particular the Centre for Commercial Law Studies which he founded and inspired, provided the ideal academic base Its location on the eastern margin of the City enabled busy practitioners to be drawn into the work of the Centre, and enabled Roy to involve himself in public bodies concerned with advertising, insolvency, monopolies and mergers, arbitration, banking and consumer credit. The practical relevance of his work is attested by a Lexis search which reveals 53 English cases in which it has been cited -- and that takes no account of citations in courts as distant as Oregon and the Antipodes.