Royston Miles (Roy) Goode was born in 1933 and went to Highgate School 1946-49. He became interested in criminal law through reading books in the school library. Then in 1949 he left unexpectedly to accept an offer of articles with a Portsmouth firm at a time when articles were difficult to obtain. During his 5 years articles he took the Law Society's exams and an external London LL.B., mainly by correspondence.
Following articles Roy did 2 years' national service, the second year of which was spent in Cyprus. In 1957 he went back to his old firm in Portsmouth, briefly, then spent 5 months with a small firm in Braintree, before moving to another small firm in Northampton, where he spent 2 years mainly engaged in court work and general litigation. In 1960 he moved to London, spent a few months with a firm in the West End, before joining Victor Mishcon & Co. (now Mischon de Reya), initially as an assistant solicitor, and from 1963 as a partner, specializing in High Court litigation and commercial contracts. It was a varied general practice, which included defamation, personal injury litigation, business tenancies, contract, insolvency law, partnership, and company law. With hindsight he sees the breadth of his experience of litigation as an excellent foundation for an intending academic lawyer, because of the need to research a wide range of subjects and to see connections that would not be obvious to a narrow specialist.
Roy began his first book, on hire-purchase, in 1957 in Braintree. On his account there was not much to do in the evenings, so he thought he would pass the time by writing a book, and as law was the only subject he knew anything about it had better be a small book on law. But what branch? What ultimately emerged was, again on his account, an accident. He browsed through Sweet & Maxwell's Where to Find Your Law, tracked through details of the literature on such topics as abandonment, alluvion bailment, conversion, divorce, and heirlooms, and finally on hire-purchase which had not been written about for 20 years and of which he knew nothing. What emerged, of course, was a massive work on the topic, innovative in the subjects covered (e.g. block discounting) and in their treatment. Shortly after the publication of the first edition, Roy married Catherine Rueff, surely one of the wisest things he has done.
The Crowther Committee was formally appointed in September 1968.