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Alfred Denning (Alfred Thompson Denning) was born on 23 January, 1899 in Whitchurch, United Kingdom, is an English lawyer and judge. Discover Alfred Denning's Biography, Age, Height, Physical Stats, Dating/Affairs, Family and career updates. Learn How rich is He in this year and how He spends money? Also learn how He earned most of Alfred Denning networth?

Popular As Alfred Thompson Denning
Occupation miscellaneous
Age 100 years old
Zodiac Sign Aquarius
Born 23 January 1899
Birthday 23 January
Birthplace Whitchurch, United Kingdom
Date of death March 5, 1999
Died Place Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, United Kingdom
Nationality United Kingdom

We recommend you to check the complete list of Famous People born on 23 January. He is a member of famous Miscellaneous with the age 100 years old group.

Alfred Denning Height, Weight & Measurements

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Who Is Alfred Denning's Wife?

His wife is Joan Stuart (m. 1945–1992), Mary Harvey (m. 1932–1941)

Parents Not Available
Wife Joan Stuart (m. 1945–1992), Mary Harvey (m. 1932–1941)
Sibling Not Available
Children Robert Gordon Denning

Alfred Denning Net Worth

His net worth has been growing significantly in 2021-2022. So, how much is Alfred Denning worth at the age of 100 years old? Alfred Denning’s income source is mostly from being a successful Miscellaneous. He is from United Kingdom. We have estimated Alfred Denning's net worth , money, salary, income, and assets.

Net Worth in 2022 $1 Million - $5 Million
Salary in 2022 Under Review
Net Worth in 2021 Pending
Salary in 2021 Under Review
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Source of Income Miscellaneous

Alfred Denning Social Network

Wikipedia Alfred Denning Wikipedia



Unlike most of the judiciary Denning firmly believed that the press should have access to the courts and freedom to criticise magistrates and judges. He believed all legal proceedings should be held in public, quoting Jeremy Bentham when he said that "in the darkness of secrecy all sorts of things can go wrong. If things are really done in public you can see that the judge does behave himself, the newspapers can comment on it if he misbehaves — it keeps everyone in order".


Denning, along with his older brother Gordon, began his schooling at the National School of Whitchurch, one of many set up by the National Society for the Education of the Poor. Both boys won scholarships to Andover Grammar School, where Denning excelled academically, winning four prizes for English essays on the subjects of "The Great Authors", "Macaulay", "Carlyle" and "Milton". The outbreak of the First World War saw most of the schoolmasters leave to join the British armed forces, being replaced by female teachers. At the time Denning wanted to become a mathematician, but none of the new teachers knew enough mathematics to teach him; instead, he taught himself. He qualified to study at University College, Southampton, but was advised to stay at school and apply to Oxford or Cambridge in a few years. He sat the Oxbridge examination when he was sixteen and was awarded a £30 a year exhibition to study mathematics at Magdalen College, Oxford; the money was not enough to live on, but he accepted nevertheless. Although he had been accepted by a college he still needed to gain entry to the university as a whole, which meant passing exams including Greek – which had not been taught at Andover Grammar School. Denning managed to teach himself enough of the subject to pass, and matriculated to Oxford in 1916.


He celebrated his 100th birthday in Whitchurch on 23 January 1999, receiving telegrams from both the Queen and Queen Mother. A male choir sang "Happy Birthday to You" and the local church had a new bell named "Great Tom" cast in his honour specifically for the occasion. By this point his health had deteriorated even further; he was legally blind and required a hearing aid. On 5 March 1999 he fell ill and was rushed to Royal Hampshire County Hospital, where he died of an internal haemorrhage. He was the last veteran of World War I to sit in the House of Lords.


On 25 November 1997 he was appointed to the Order of Merit; by this point he was too weak to travel to London to receive it, so instead a representative of the Queen travelled to Whitchurch to present it to him.


In the summer of 1990 he agreed to a taped interview with A.N. Wilson, to be published in The Spectator. They discussed the Guildford Four; Denning remarked that if the Guildford Four had been hanged "They'd probably have hanged the right men. Just not proved against them, that's all". His remarks were controversial and came at a time when the issue of miscarriage of justice was a sensitive topic. He had expressed a similar controversial opinion regarding the Birmingham Six in 1988, saying: "Hanging ought to be retained for murder most foul. We shouldn't have all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six released if they'd been hanged. They'd have been forgotten, and the whole community would be satisfied... It is better that some innocent men remain in jail than that the integrity of the English judicial system be impugned."


He later changed his mind about capital punishment, regarding it as unethical. In 1984 he wrote "Is it right for us, as a society, to do a thing – hang a man – which none of us individually would be prepared to do or even witness? The answer is 'no, not in a civilised society'".


In retirement Denning moved to Whitchurch and continued the work he had done outside court hours, lecturing and presenting awards. He also on occasion dispensed legal advice; in February 1983 he advised Patrick Evershed on the statutory duties of water suppliers. Further hip troubles were resolved with a full replacement in March 1983, although a fall later that year forced him to stay at home for six weeks. With free time on his hands Denning spoke in the House of Lords on matters that interested him, supporting an amendment to the Abortion Act 1967 and bills designed to allow the administration of companies in financial difficulties.


The Court of Appeal's decision in Spartan Steel has been criticised, firstly for being based on public policy rather than any legal principle, and secondly because the main public policy ground for their decision (that allowing claims of pure economic loss would lead to countless claims) has never been backed up by evidence. The House of Lords eventually ruled in Junior Books v Veitchi [1982] 3 All ER 201 that pure economic loss was recoverable.


In 1980, during an appeal by the Birmingham Six (who were later acquitted), Denning judged that the men should be stopped from challenging legal decisions. He listed several reasons for not allowing their appeal:


In 1979 he began to experience hip and leg problems; one of his legs had shortened an inch and a half and he had to learn to walk again. Although he remained otherwise in good health this was a sign of his increasing age, and the disabilities that came with it began to affect his judgments as well.


In addition to being a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1944 he was made an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple in 1972, Gray's Inn in 1979 and Inner Temple in 1982, making him the only person to be elected a Bencher or Honorary Bencher of all four Inns of Court. In 1963 he was made a Doctor of Civil Law by the University of Oxford. In 1977 he was awarded with an honorary doctorate in the Netherlands, by Tilburg Law School, part of Tilburg University. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire on 2 June 1978.


In 1977, Denning upheld the deportation of Mark Hosenball, a journalist who had worked on a story which referred to the existence of GCHQ, which was considered to be a state secret. In the ruling, he argued that the government's decisions in these cases were beyond legal review, writing:


In Spartan Steel and Alloys Ltd v Martin & Co. Ltd [1973] 1 QB 27 in 1973 he delivered a leading judgment on the subject of the recovery of pure economic loss in negligence. Spartan Steel were a company that manufactured stainless steel in Birmingham, and their factory was powered by electricity. Less than a mile away from the factory Martin & Co were doing maintenance work on a road when they accidentally unearthed and damaged the power cable providing the factory with electricity. Due to the power being off the factory lost a large amount of money; £368 on damaged goods, £400 on the profits they would have made from those goods and £1,767 for the steel they could not make due to the power outage. The question was what Spartan Steel could claim money for. Martin & Co agreed they were negligent, and offered to pay for the damaged goods and the profit that Spartan Steel would have made on those goods, but refused to pay damages for the steel Spartan Steel could not make due to the power outage. In his judgment Denning agreed that they would only have to pay for losses associated with the damaged goods, not the money lost on the steel that could not be made due to the power outage because it counted as pure economic loss. For public policy reasons Denning would not allow the recovery of pure economic loss, stating in his judgment that:


In Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking Ltd [1971] 2 QB 163 in 1971 the Court of Appeal under Denning ruled that when dealing with offer and acceptance between a person and an automated machine the offer was made by the machine. In Butler Machine Tool Co Ltd v Ex-Cell-O Corp Ltd [1979] 1 WLR 401 in 1979 Denning reformed case law in relation to the so-called 'Battle of the Forms'.


In August 1969 he travelled to Fiji to arbitrate in a dispute between a majority of Fijian sugarcane growers and the Australian owners of the refining mills, which he was permitted to do on the condition he did not take a fee. Denning refused to have any contact with the government as a way to emphasise his neutrality in the situation. The agreements between growers and millers had been based on a contract written in 1961 due to end in March 1970. The growers were convinced that they were getting a bad deal; in response to their demand for better terms the mill-owners threatened to leave Fiji. Despite criticism from both sides at the beginning of the arbitration process Denning came up with a solution which redressed matters in favour of growers, creating a new formula for working out prices and requiring that the mill owners have an accountant inspect their accounts and report back to the growers. Denning's decision impressed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who invited him to report on the banana growing industry in Jamaica in the vacation of 1971. His foreign travels to lecture on English law led to him being described as the "Ambassador-at-Large for the common law".


As Master of the Rolls he selected cases he felt to be particularly important to hear and, rather than having an American system (where judges had a rota for taking cases), assigned cases to those judges who had expertise in that particular area of law. In 1963 he chaired a committee investigating ways to reduce the archive of legal documents kept by the Public Record Office; by that point the files for civil cases of the High Court alone occupied four miles of shelving. The final report was presented to the Lord Chancellor on 16 May 1966, with the conclusion being that 'if our proposals are implemented the Public Record Office alone will be relieved of two hundred tons of records (occupying 15,000 feet of shelving)'. The Lord Chancellor took Denning's report to heart, and had the changes he recommended implemented immediately.


This was effectively nullified with the case National Provincial Bank Ltd v Ainsworth [1965] AC 1175 in 1965, which ruled that the deserted wife had no licence to stay. The decision was very unpopular and led to the passing of the Matrimonial Homes Act 1967. Much of his work in favour of the deserted wife was based around his interpretation of the Married Women's Property Act 1882, which the House of Lords unanimously overruled in Pettitt v Pettitt [1970] AC 777 in 1970. Further notable decisions by Denning in this area were Heseltine v Heseltine [1971] 1 WLR 342 in 1971 and Wachtel v Wachtel [1973] Fam 72 in 1973, which created basic rules for dividing family assets in a divorce case, something which had not previously been established in the law.


Denning gave the leading judgment in Letang v Cooper [1964] 2 All ER 929 in 1964. Mrs Letang, on holiday in Cornwall, decided to lie down and rest in grass outside a hotel. Cooper drove into the hotel car park and, not seeing Letang, ran over her legs. More than three years after the events, Letang brought a tort case against Cooper, claiming damages for her injuries. The standard tort for personal injuries is that of negligence, which has a three-year statute of limitations, and Letang instead claimed damages under the tort of trespass to the person. In his judgment, Denning stated that the tort of trespass could only be used if the injury was inflicted intentionally; if it was unintentionally, only negligence could be used.


Denning became best known as a result of his report into the Profumo affair. John Profumo was the Secretary of State for War with the British government. At a party in 1961 Profumo was introduced to Christine Keeler, a showgirl, and began having an affair with her. At the same time she was in a relationship with Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attaché at the embassy of the Soviet Union. On 26 January 1963 Keeler was contacted by police on an unrelated matter and voluntarily gave them information about her relationship with Profumo.


In 1962 Lord Evershed resigned as Master of the Rolls, and Denning was appointed to replace him on 19 April 1962 with a salary of £9,000. Although Denning himself described it as 'a step down' he was pleased with his appointment, as he had much preferred his time with the Court of Appeal than the House of Lords. Court of Appeal judges sit in threes, and the Lords in fives (or more), so it was suggested that to get his way in the Court of Appeal Denning only had to persuade one other judge whereas in the House of Lords it was at least two. The other 'benefit' of the Court of Appeal is that it hears more cases than the House of Lords, and so has a greater effect on the law. During his twenty years as Master of the Rolls, Denning could choose both which cases he heard, and the judges with whom he sat. Therefore, on most issues, he effectively had the last word; comparatively few cases went on to the House of Lords, which was at that time Britain's highest court of law.


Denning did not enjoy his time in the House of Lords and clashed frequently with Gavin, Viscount Simonds, who was known as a conservative and orthodox judge. Despite his reputation as a fiercely individual judge, Denning dissented in only 16% of cases he heard in the House of Lords; fewer than Lord Keith, who dissented 22% of the time. On 9 May 1960, Denning was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex.


After the resignation of Lord Oaksey in 1956 Denning was offered a job as a Law Lord. After a period of contemplation (he worried that such an appointment would reduce his chances of becoming Master of the Rolls or Lord Chief Justice) he accepted, and was formally offered the job on 5 April 1957. He was appointed on 24 April 1957, as Baron Denning, of Whitchurch in the County of Southampton; for the supporters of his coat of arms he chose Lord Mansfield and Sir Edward Coke. Many members of the judiciary and the Bar approved of his appointment, but he was warned that he should move slowly to reform the court. During his time in the House of Lords he also served as Chairman of the Quarter Sessions of East Sussex.


Throughout his career Denning travelled to a variety of foreign countries to lecture and learn more about other legal systems. In 1954 he was sponsored by the Nuffield Foundation to travel to South Africa and visit the universities there in the court vacation. He visited all six universities, accompanied by his son Robert and wife Joan, lecturing on the role of the judiciary and the press in safeguarding freedom. In 1955 he travelled to the United States at the behest of the American Bar Association and was elected an honorary member, followed by a trip to Canada a year later as a guest of the Canadian Bar Association, where he was awarded an honorary law doctorate by the University of Ottawa and made a life member of the Canadian Bar Association. In 1958 he visited Israel and from there travelled to Poland, where he was surprised by both the number of female judges and how badly they were paid. In 1961 he travelled again to Israel to give the Lionel Cohen Lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


In 1951 he gave a noted dissenting judgment in the case Candler v Crane, Christmas & Co regarded as a 'brilliant advancement to the law of negligent misstatements' and which was later approved of by the House of Lords in Hedley Byrne v Heller & Partners Ltd [1963] 2 All ER 575. In Combe v Combe in 1952 he elaborated on his resurrected doctrine of promissory estoppel, saying that it could be a 'shield' not a 'sword'; it could be used to defend a claim, but not to create a cause of action where none existed. In 1954 his decision in Roe v Minister of Health [1954] 2 AER 131 altered the grounds on which hospital staff could be found negligent, a legal precedent he himself had set in Gold v Essex County Council in 1942. In 1955 his leading judgment in Entores Ltd v Miles Far East Corporation [1955] 2 QB 327 implemented a way to judge the moment of acceptance in an instantaneous or near-instantaneous method of communication; like the 'High Trees' case it is still valid.


As a High Court judge Denning sentenced people to death, which he said at the time "didn't worry [him] in the least". Denning maintained that for murder, death was the most appropriate penalty, and that in cases where mistakes had been made there was always an appeals system. In the 1950s there was growing opposition to the use of the death penalty, and a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate abolishing it. Denning told the Commission in 1953 that "the punishment inflicted for grave crimes should adequately reflect the revulsion felt by the great majority of citizens for them".


In 1949 he gave the inaugural Hamlyn Lectures at the Senate House, University of London under the title Freedom under the Law. The success of these lectures led to his being invited to speak at many more events; in early 1950 he spoke at University College, Dublin and in June spoke at the Holdsworth Club meeting at Birmingham University. In February 1953 he gave a speech on 'the need for a new equity' to the Bentham Club at University College London, and in May gave the thirty-third Earl Grey Memorial Lecture at King's College, University of Durham (now, part of Newcastle University), on the influence of religion on law. Towards the end of his judicial career he gave the 1980 Richard Dimbleby Lecture on the subject of "Misuse of Power".


After less than five years as a judge, Denning was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal on 14 October 1948. He was sworn in as a Privy Counsellor on 25 October 1948. As a Lord Justice of Appeal he continued to make reforming judgments in a variety of areas, particularly in family law and the rights of deserted wives. Bendall v McWhirter [1952] 2 QB 466 ruled that a deserted wife occupying the marital home had a personal licence to stay there. The decision provoked disapproval among the judiciary and from the public; a correspondent wrote:


In 1947 he decided in Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd [1947] KB 130 (known as the 'High Trees' case), which was a milestone in English contract law. It resurrected the principle of promissory estoppel established in Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co (1876–77) LR 2 App Cas 439 and has been both praised and criticised by lawyers and legal theorists.


In 1946 he travelled the Western Circuit but was recalled by the Lord Chancellor to chair a committee looking at the reform of procedure in divorce cases. He continued working as a judge while chairing the daily committee. The committee was appointed on 26 June 1946 and published its first report in July, which reduced the time between decree nisi and decree absolute from 6 months to 6 weeks. The second report was published in November, recommending that County Court judges should be appointed to try cases, and the final report was published in February 1947 recommending the establishment of a Marriage Welfare Service. The reports were well received by the public and led to Denning being invited in 1949 to become President of the National Marriage Guidance Council.


With the appointment of Lord Jowitt as Lord Chancellor in 1945 Denning was transferred to the King's Bench Division, where Jowitt thought his talents would be better put to use (with Hildreth Glyn-Jones QC, later a High Court judge, greeting him with the words 'welcome home').


In December 1943 a judge was taken ill, and Denning was asked to take his place as a Commissioner of Assize. This was regarded as a 'trial' for membership of the judiciary, and Denning was appointed Recorder of Plymouth on 17 February 1944. On 6 March 1944, while arguing a case in the House of Lords, Denning was taken aside by the Lord Chancellor and told that he wanted Denning to become a judge at the High Court of Justice in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division. Denning accepted, and the announcement was made before the conclusion of the trial.


From 1937 until 1944 he worked as Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwark, and from 1942 to 1944 was Chancellor of the Diocese of London. He applied to become a King's Counsel on 15 January 1938. The appointments were announced on 7 April; he "took silk" on 9 April and received letters of congratulation from, among others, Rayner Goddard. After the start of the Second World War, Denning volunteered; he was too old for active service, and was instead appointed legal advisor to the North East Region. In 1942 he took the case of Gold v Essex County Council [1942] 2 KB 293, which changed the law to make hospitals liable for the professional negligence of their staff.


On the advice of Herbert Warren, he returned to Magdalen to study Jurisprudence in October 1921. Thanks to Warren, Denning was elected to the Eldon Law Scholarship, worth £100 a year, to finance his studies; when the news of Denning's election was brought, Warren wrote "you are a marked man. Perhaps you will be a Lord of Appeal some day". Denning took his final examinations in June 1922 and impressed the examiner, Geoffrey Cheshire, by correctly answering questions on the Law of Property Act which had been given Royal Assent only a few days before.


His work steadily increased in amount and quality throughout the 1920s and '30s. By the 1930s he was making most of his court appearances in the senior courts such as the High Court of Justice; in 1932 he was advised by his clerk that he should not be seen in the county courts, and that he should leave this work for lesser members of the chambers. In 1929 he helped edit several chapters of Smith's Leading Cases (13th ed.) and in 1932 acted as a supervising editor for the 9th edition of Bullen & Leake's Precedents for Pleadings in the King's Bench Division. In 1932 he moved to his own set of chambers in Brick Court, and by 1936 he was earning over £3,000 a year. (Roughly £200,000 a year in 2020). A notable case was L'Estrange v F Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394, where he successfully argued an exemption clause was incorporated because a contract was signed. This was counter to his work as a judge, where he tried to minimise their impact, but he said that 'If you are an advocate you want your client to win. If you are a judge you don't care who wins exactly. All you are concerned about is justice'.


Denning was demobilised on 6 February 1919, and returned to Magdalen College four days later. He initially thought about turning to applied mathematics, but decided on pure mathematics. He studied hard, not participating in any of the university's numerous societies or clubs so that he could better focus on his work, and graduated in 1920 with a first in Mathematical Greats. He was offered a job teaching mathematics at Winchester College for £350 a year, which he accepted. As well as mathematics, he taught geology, despite not having studied it; instead, he "read up on [it] the night before". He found the job boring, and after viewing the Assize Court at Winchester Castle decided he would like to be a barrister.


In March 1918 the German Army advanced closer to Amiens and Paris, and Denning's unit was sent to France to help stop the advance. Under continuous shell fire for three months, the company and the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division held their section of the line, with a unit under Denning's command building a bridge to allow infantry to advance over the River Ancre. Denning went two days without sleep while building these bridges; shortly after one was completed, a German aeroplane dropped a bomb on it, forcing them to start again. The unit advanced over the River Ancre and the Canal du Nord, but Denning fell ill with influenza and was in hospital for the last few days of the war. When writing of his experiences in World War I in The Family Story, Denning summed up his war service with characteristic pithiness in just four words: "I did my bit".


In addition to his Magdalen Scholarship he had a scholarship from Hampshire County Council worth £50 a year. After arriving he made a favourable impression on Sir Herbert Warren, the President of Magdalen College, who upgraded the exhibition to a Demyship of £80 a year and arranged for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths to give Denning a £30 a year scholarship. Despite military training in the early morning and evening, Denning worked hard at his studies, and obtained a First in Mathematical Moderations, the first half of his mathematics degree, in June 1917.


Denning's oldest brother, Captain John Edward Newdigate Denning, was killed near Gueudecourt on 26 September 1916 whilst serving with the Lincolnshire Regiment. His brother, Sub-Lieutenant Charles Gordon Denning, who saw action in the Battle of Jutland, died of tuberculosis on 24 May 1918 whilst serving with the Royal Navy on HMS Morris. Denning would describe his dead brothers as the best of him and his siblings.


Denning met his future wife Mary Harvey on 25 October 1914 aged fifteen at his confirmation; she was the daughter of the Vicar of Whitchurch. Denning attempted to court her for many years, but for a long time his love was unrequited, with Mary wanting them to be only friends. After a dance at Beaulieu on 18 January 1930 she told him of her love for him, and he returned to Hampshire with her to pick out an engagement ring. Barely six months away from the set date for their wedding Mary was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but she recovered and the couple were married on 28 December 1932, with the wedding officiated by Cecil Henry Boutflower, Bishop of Southampton.


Alfred Denning was born on January 23, 1899 in Whitchurch, Hampshire, England as Alfred Thompson Denning.