Randy J. Holland Celebration of Life: Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, First President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court Remarks

Good afternoon. I’m speaking to you from the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four English Inns of Court.

Jen, Ethan, Randy, and Ilona Holland in the great hall of Lincoln’s Inn

Lincoln’s Inn was Randy’s Inn. He had the great distinction of having been elected as an honorary bencher of this Inn, and he was held here in very great affection. Only two other United States judges had that honor, Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So you see, Randy was in good company and Randy was good company. The memories that we have of him, memories which you will be sharing today, serve only to underscore the grief that we feel at the loss of that company.

Lincoln’s Inn and the other Inns of Court date back well over 500 years. Their membership was and is made up of judges, barristers and law students. We dine together in our great halls in fellowship and friendship that endures when we find ourselves pitched against each other as adversaries in the courts.

Chief Justice Warren Burger was so impressed by our Inns of Court that he established the American Inns of Court to promote the same qualities of legal excellence, civility, professionalism, and ethics.

For my money, there was no one who better personified those qualities than Randy Holland. He didn’t need to join an Inn of Court to acquire them. They were innate elements of his personality.

He was not a showy man but modest and a little understated. It took a while to appreciate his learning, his wisdom, and his quiet humor. It’s no surprise that he should have been made a trustee of the American Inns of Court Foundation and that at the turn of the century he should have become its president.

It was my good fortune and that of Christylle, my wife, that this office brought Randy and Ilona to London and that we developed a close friendship. This has given us great joy together on both sides of the Atlantic. In this, we were not alone. The bells of Lincoln’s Inn that tolled for Randy expressed the grief of many friends that he had made in London and also, I know in Ireland.

Randy added to my library two books that I especially prize, each with a foreword by your Chief Justice John Roberts. He coauthored one, an account of the members of my Inn, Middle Temple, who played key roles in the American Revolution. He edited the other on Magna Carta with contributions from his friends Lord Igor Judge, who was then our Lord Chief Justice, and Dame Mary Arden who went on to become a justice of our Supreme Court.

Randy and I shared a platform at the International Forum on the Rule of Law in Qatar. More recently, we were appointed to the panel of international arbitrators set up to support the rule of law in Kazakhstan. I had hoped that we might find ourselves there together, but it was not to be. It has been a privilege to share with you memories of an outstanding lawyer, but more significantly, a wonderful friend.

The Right Honourable Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, PC, KC was the last Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and the first Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to be head of the English judiciary when that function was transferred from the Lord Chancellor in April 2006. Before his chief justiceship, he was Master of the Rolls from 2000 to 2005. Queen Elizabeth II elevated him as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter in 2011.

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