Former member of chambers, His Honour Judge John (Jack) Hayman, is celebrating his 100th birthday today, the 24th August 2018. 

Judge Hayman came to this country from his native South Africa after the second world war, in which he served with the South African forces, and was called to the Bar in 1945.  The received wisdom at that time was that the three qualities necessary to succeed at the Bar were contacts, a private income, and outstanding ability – and that, unless you had at least two of these, a career at the Bar was not advised. Well Jack, although he lacked the first two of these attributes, did embark upon what was then a long road even to earning enough to live on and, thanks to his perseverance, capacity for hard work and, of course, ability as a lawyer he built up a successful practice in what was then a small set of chambers at 12 Kings Bench Walk.  There he remained until he accepted the offer of judicial appointment in 1976.

Jack’s practice was predominantly in the field of personal injury, in which he became one of the busiest practitioners at the London Bar, although he also engaged in insurance and commercial matters (for example in the dispute between the Distillers company and Lloyds underwriters arising out of the Thalidomide litigation, where he was retained by Distillers). Several of his pupils, with the benefit of his tutelage, went on to develop successful careers, including Ronald Walker QC who subsequently became head of chambers and is, of course, still in practice.

Following his appointment to the Circuit Bench Jack sat regularly in the London county courts and as a Deputy High Court judge, until his retirement in 1992. He is, so far as we are aware, the first member of chambers to achieve his centenary and we offer him our congratulations and best wishes.