We are saddened by the news that Lord Goodhart QC died on 10th January.
Willie Goodhart read law at Cambridge after national service, and at Harvard, having won a Harkness Scholarship. He was called to the Bar and joined eminent chambers in Lincoln's Inn (former heads of chambers included John Sparrow, who became Warden of All Souls College, Oxford, and Cyril Radcliffe, who became a Law Lord). He acquired a very busy Chancery practice, and became a silk in 1979. He moved to Gough Square Chambers in 2001.
He appeared successfully in varied cases from the leading landlord and tenant case of Street v Mountford, to the leading case on unfair contract terms of Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank plc.
With Professor Gareth Jones he wrote a leading practitioners' work on specific performance. He served on the board of Justice, the British Arm of the International Committee of Jurists.
Inspired by Roy Jenkins' Dimbleby lecture, he became a proponent of a new radical centre force in British politics. He became a founding member of the SDP and drafted the party's constitution, a job he repeated seven years later for the Liberal Democrats. He was a parliamentary Candidate for Kensington in 1983, 1987 and for the byelection in 1988, and for Oxford West and Abingdon in 1992.
He was knighted in 1989 and then made a Life Peer in 1997. As Baron Goodhart of Youlbury he made especially strong contributions to the work of the Lords on legal and constitutional affairs. He was the Liberal Democrats' shadow Lord Chancellor until December 2006, when he was appointed Chair of the Delegated Powers Committee. He also sat on the Committee on Standards in Public Life and two Select Committees. He retired from the Lords in 2015.