OBITUARY: His Honour Patrick Medd

Patrick Medd's biography of Sir Samuel Romilly, the Whig parliamentarian, law reformer and spokesman for the rights and liberties of the people, was published in 1968. Behind Medd's intense personal modesty, the same qualities as Romilly's could be seen in his liberalism and humanity and in his achievements as a writer, advocate of reform, lawyer, judge and as a school governor.

During the 1950s the Inns of Court Conservative and Unionist Society was a vigorous source of reforming ideas. Medd was secretary. In that capacity he was co-author of The Rule of Law (1955) and of Murder (1956). The first of those advocated the need for access to justice by ordinary citizens in disputes with departments of state; this foreshadowed Medd's later career as president of such a tribunal. Murder pressed for reform of the law of homicide and for the abolition of the death penalty. The Giant's Strength, which he wrote in 1958, assessed and questioned the powers of the trade-union movement and its relationship with government.

Medd was born in Abingdon, in Oxfordshire. He was educated at Uppingham School and Selwyn College, Cambridge, following which he trained on the Clyde to be a naval architect (his uncle had been a partner of Sir Edwin Lutyens). The Second World War came and he was commissioned with the South Staffordshire Regiment and subsequently served with the East African Artillery in Burma, reaching the rank of major. He fought in the Burma campaign, when the Japanese were driven back to the River Chindwin.

Returning from the war he joined the Middle Temple, read for the Bar and, following pupillage with Alan Orr, became a member of the chambers of Melford Stevenson QC. There Medd built up a general practice in London and on the Oxford Circuit. In 1969 he was appointed Junior Counsel to the Inland Revenue, succeeding Mr Raymond Phillips. His opinions, provided in beautiful handwriting, were greatly respected, and he represented the Crown in many complex and important appeals. He was always scrupulously fair and took pains to ensure that unrepresented appellants were not unduly disadvantaged. His transparent honesty and integrity gained him the trust and respect of judges, and of his opposing counsel.

Medd's judicial career started in 1964 as Recorder of Abingdon. From 1967 until 1971 he was deputy chairman of Shropshire Quarter Sessions. He then became a Recorder of the Crown Court and was appointed to the Circuit Bench in 1982. Throughout his time as a judge he was known for his courtesy, patience and humanity. A change in the direction of his career came in 1986 when he was appointed a part-time special commissioner to hear Inland Revenue appeals. He succeeded Lord Grantchester in 1988 as President of the VAT Tribunals and, from 1990, when he was appointed Presiding Special Commissioner, he presided over both Tribunals in their stately premises in Bedford Square. This was a sensitive time. The implementation of a civil penalty code following the Keith Report on Enforcement of Revenue Powers produced a dramatic increase in the volume of appeals as did the growing effect of European directives. His decisions on penalties charted a firm but sensible and workable course through provisions which were seen by some to be unduly Draconian.

Medd's recordership of Abingdon led to his appointment to the Board of Governors of Abingdon School, and from 1983 till 1990 he was chairman of the Board. During that period the school prospered and its standing and prestige grew. Medd devoted a great deal of his time and energy to school affairs, displaying his own interest in the quality of the education and the opportunities it offered. His sense of balance and his support of the school's development programme earned him the trust and respect of headmaster and staff alike. When he retired as chairman of the Board he took over the chairmanship of the appeal committee.

Patrick Medd was a passionate gardener. When at home he was always to be found, panama-hatted, working on a magnificent garden. The last of those was in Clifton Hampden, in Oxfordshire, where the lower terraces had been laid out by Gertrude Jekyll. His greatest joy was opening his garden to the public in aid of charity.

Stephen Oliver

Patrick William Medd, lawyer: born 26 May 1919; called to the Bar, Middle Temple 1947, Bencher 1969; OBE 1962; Recorder of Abingdon 1964-71, Honorary Recorder 1972-95; member, General Council of the Bar 1965-67; Deputy Chairman, Shropshire Quarter Sessions 1967-71; Junior Counsel to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue 1968-73; a Recorder of the Crown Court 1972-81; QC 1973; chairman, Board of Referees and Finance Act 1960 Tribunal 1978-91; a circuit judge 1981-92; Co-President, National Reference Tribunal for the Coalmining Industry 1985-95; Special Commissioner of Income Tax 1986-92, Presiding Special Commissioner 1990- 92; President, VAT Tribunals 1988-92; married 1945 Jeananne Spence Powell (three daughters; marriage dissolved), 1971 Elizabeth Spinks D'Albuquerque; died 15 October 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea