Robert Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley
Robert Goff redirects here. For the football player of the same name see Robert Goff (American football).

Robert Lionel Archibald Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley PC DCL FBA is a retired British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Lord Goff, High Steward of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, retired in 1998 as Senior Law Lord after more than a decade as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

 in the House of Lords
Judicial functions of the House of Lords
The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. In the latter case the House's...

. Prior to being created a Law lord and receiving a life peerage as Baron Goff of Chieveley
Chieveley is a village and civil parish about north of Newbury in Berkshire, close to the M4 motorway and A34 road.-Character:Chieveley is a village of 1,481 people and 508 households. A map of 1877 stated the area at the time to be roughly . Chieveley Service Station serves Junction 13 of the M4...

in the County of Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

 in 1986, Lord Goff studied at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 and at New College, Oxford
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...


He served in the army and as a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford
Lincoln College, Oxford
Lincoln College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is situated on Turl Street in central Oxford, backing onto Brasenose College and adjacent to Exeter College...

, practised as a barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 and Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

, and was appointed to the High Court in 1975 and to the Court of Appeal in 1982. Lord Goff, co-author of Goff & Jones, The Law of Restitution, is the acknowledged father of English restitution
The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. Obligations to make restitution and obligations to pay compensation are each a type of legal response to events in the real world. When a court...

 law, and has served on many important cases in the House of Lords

He is the President of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, a patron of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal
Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal
The Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal is a postgraduate-edited international and comparative law journal from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law, covering the study of legal trends and developments within and between Commonwealth jurisdictions.-Content:The journal includes articles,...

, and was awarded the Grand Gross (First Class) of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his contribution to British awareness of German law.

Important judgments

Lord Goff gave many important judgments, including his judgments in the following cases:
  • B.P. Exploration Co. (Libya) Ltd. v Hunt [1979] 1 WLR. 783
  • Elanco Products Ltd v Mandops (Agrochemical Specialists) Ltd [1979] FSR 46
  • Daulia Ltd v Four Millbank Nominees Ltd
    Daulia Ltd v Four Millbank Nominees Ltd
    Daulia Ltd v Four Millbank Nominees Ltd [1977] is an English contract law case, concerning unilateral contracts, and when embarking on the performance of an act for which an offer is open, at what point the offer may be withdrawn...

    [1978] Ch 231
  • Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather plc
    Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather plc
    Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] 1 All ER 53 is a case in English tort law that established the principle that claims under nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher must include a requirement that the damage be foreseeable; it also suggested that Rylands was a sub-set of nuisance...

    [1994] 1 All ER 53
  • Collins v Wilcock [1984] 3 All ER 374 - In his judgement in this case he defines both battery and assault which has become the accepted definitions.
  • Spiliada v Cansulex Ltd [1987] AC 460
  • Attorney-General v Observer Ltd. and Others. [1990] 1 AC 109
  • R v R [1992] 1 AC 599
  • Lipkin Gorman v Karpnale Ltd
    Lipkin Gorman v Karpnale Ltd
    Lipkin Gorman v Karpnale Ltd [1991] 2 AC 548 is a foundational English unjust enrichment case. The House of Lords unanimously established that the basis of an action for money had and received is the principle of unjust enrichment, and that an award of restitution is subject to a defence of change...

    [1992] 4 All ER 331
  • R v Gough [1993] 2 All ER 724
  • Lord Napier v Kershaw [1993] AC 713
  • The Pioneer Container [1994] 2 AC 324
  • Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v. Islington LBC [1996] AC 669 (dissenting on the question of the award of compound interest) "No genetic engineering is required, only that the warm sun of judicial creativity should exercise its benign influence rather than remain hidden behind the dark clouds of legal history."
  • Henderson v Merrett Syndicate [1995] 2 AC 145
  • White v Jones
    White v Jones
    White v Jones is a leading English tort law case concerning professional negligence and the conditions under which a person will be taken to have assumed responsibility for the welfare of another.-Facts:...

    [1995] AC 207
  • Kleinwort Benson Ltd v Lincoln City Council [1999] 2 AC 349
  • Re Pinochet
    Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
    General Augusto Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations committed in his native Chile by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón on 10 October 1998. He was arrested in London six days later and finally released by the British government in March 2000...

    [1998] UKHL
  • Attorney General v Blake
    Attorney General v Blake
    Attorney General v Blake [2000] is a leading English contract law case on damages for breach of contract. It established that in some circumstances where ordinary remedies are inadequate, restitutionary damages may be awarded.-Facts:...

    [2001] 1 AC 268
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