Obituary: Henry Darwin

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The Independent Online
Henry Galton Darwin, lawyer and diplomat, born 6 November 1929, called to Bar Lincoln's Inn 1953, Assistant Legal Adviser Foreign Office 1954-60, 1963-67, Legal Adviser British Embassy Bonn 1960-63, Legal Counsellor UK Mission to UN 1967-70, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1970-73, a Director- General Legal Secretariat European Communities Brussels 1973- 76, Deputy Legal Adviser FCO 1976-84, CMG 1977, Second Legal Adviser FCO Office 1984-89, married 1958 Jane Christie (three daughters), died London 17 September 1992.

HENRY DARWIN spent his career in the Legal Branch of the Diplomatic Service.

He joined what was then the Foreign Office in 1954 and, towards the end of that decade, became heavily involved in the negotiations leading up to the Cyprus agreements of 1960. He then served for a period of three years as Legal Adviser to the British Embassy in Bonn, after which he returned to London before proceeding, on promotion to Legal Counsellor, to the UK Mission to the UN in New York in 1967. Shortly after his return to London in 1970, he was seconded, in 1973, to the Secretariat of the Council of Minutes of the European Communities as a Director-General of the Legal Service. He again returned to the FCO in 1976 on promotion to Deputy Legal Adviser.

He then played a major role in the work of the UK Delegation to the Third UN Law of the Sea Conference, continuing to represent the UK at meetings of the Preparatory Commission after 1982. He was promoted to Second Legal Adviser in 1984 and served as such until his retirement from the FCO in 1989. Even after retirement, he continued his activities in the public service, when he was invited to provide legal advice to Lord Carrington in his capacity as Chairman of the Peace Conference on the problems of Yugoslavia; he was indeed still serving as chairman of one of its working groups when, at the age of 62, he suffered a severe heart attack in his old department last week.

Henry Darwin was a tireless worker and an acute and penetrating lawyer. As his career demonstrates, he was not a narrow specialist. His many gifts were placed at the disposal of the public service in a variety of capacities. He was always cheerful and energetic, determined to find acceptable solutions to the myriad legal problems with which he was confronted. He had a restless and active mind, and could at times be impatient with those who did not have his quickness of intelligence.

A good draftsman, he was equally at ease in the specialised field of international negotiation on legal matters. Those who worked with him over the years are aware of the lasting contribution which he made to the many activities in which he was involved.

Apart from his work for the FCO, Darwin was also a regular participant in the scientific work of non-governmental bodies such as the David Davies Memorial Institute for International Relations and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. He played a major part in the Study Group on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes organised by the David Davies Memorial Institute in the early 1960s; this resulted in the publication of a significant report in 1964, to which he contributed. In addition, he published several articles and notes in international legal journals. His publications were rather limited as a result of his busy official life; but what he did publish was always cogent and well-argued.

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