Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Lecture in Legal History

Readers of this blog may be interested in the event below. Those familiar with Irish History will note the significance of the date.


 Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Committee 

22 September 2021 

The Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Lecture entitled “1798: A tale of two barristers” to be delivered on Thursday 11 November 2021 

Dear colleagues and friends, 

As many of you will be aware, Sir Anthony Hart was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1969. He became a Queen’s Counsel in 1983. In 1985 he was appointed a County Court Judge and Recorder of Londonderry in that year. In 1997 he became Recorder of Belfast, and in 2002, the first presiding judge of the county courts. He was appointed to the High Court in 2005 where he was responsible, amongst other things, for a series of high-profile criminal trials and the pre-trial case management of all the crown court trials conducted by High Court judges. In this role he also sat on the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland until his retirement in January 2012. 

Following retirement, between 2012 and 2017 Sir Anthony chaired the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse 1922 to 1995. Thereafter, he was appointed visiting professor at Queen’s University Belfast, and on 2 May 2019 he delivered the MacDermott Lecture entitled “Public inquiries and their role in civic society – Past, Present and Future.” 

Among his many interests, was the history of the law. A former president of the Irish Legal History Society, he was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal in 2012. His interest culminated in his 2013 work, “A History of the Bar and Inn of Court of Northern Ireland”. 

On 9 July 2019, at the age of 73, Sir Anthony died suddenly. The Benchers of the Inn of Court considered it appropriate that his services to the law be remembered and to that end the Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Committee was set up under my Chairmanship. 

Since the committee was formed, it has discussed plans with the aim of remembering the contribution that Sir Anthony has made. Our first task has been to organise and hold a lecture which will focus on Sir Anthony’s keen interest in legal history. 

The Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Lecture will take place on Thursday 11 November 2021 at 18.15 in the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. The lecture will be given by Justice of the Supreme Court, The Right Honourable Lord Stephens of Creevyloughgare. Lord Stephens was one of Sir Anthony’s pupils at the Bar. 

Due to present restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is only possible for us to have a small number of people physically present for the lecture. However, to give as many as we can the opportunity to attend, it will be possible to access the event remotely. If you are interested in attending remotely then we would be grateful if you would email Lisa Mayes at by 5pm on 22 October 2021. You will thereafter be provided with login details about how to access the event. 

We look forward to you joining with us on 11 November 2021. 

Yours respectfully, 

Joseph Aiken QC 

Chair of the Sir Anthony Hart Memorial Committee