Obituary: Sir Patrick Graham

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The Independent Online
John Patrick Graham, judge: born Shrewsbury 26 November 1906; called to the Bar, Middle Temple 1930; QC 1953; Deputy Chairman, Shropshire Quarter Sessions 1961-69; Kt 1969; Judge of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division 1969-81; member, Standing Committee on Structural Safety 1975-82; Treasurer, Middle Temple 1979; married 1931 Annie Willson (died 1993; four sons); died Watford 5 December 1993.

PATRICK GRAHAM was an outstanding figure both as a practitioner and judge in the field of intellectual property law in the post-war years. His experience in that field began immediately after his call to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1928.

He was the son of Alexander Graham, a barrister, who unusually in those days, practised almost entirely from Shrewsbury in the field of personal injury work. Not surprisingly Pat Graham went to school at Shrewsbury, where he won a scholarship. True to the school's Classical tradition he then won a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he successively took Part One of the Classical Tripos and Part Two of the Law Tripos. Interestingly, in view of his later career, he had no scientific education. In 1928 he was one of the early beneficiaries of the scholarships with which the first Lord Rothermere had endowed the Middle Temple.

After call he became a pupil of Lionel Heald, later Sir Lionel Heald QC MP and Attorney-General in Churchill's first post-war government. Heald was in chambers with Stafford Cripps. Cripps today is remembered only as a politician but in the pre-war years before politics absorbed his energies he was a formidable advocate, especially in the field of intellectual property law. Graham stayed in those chambers throughout his career at the Bar and thus had a training which could hardly have been bettered. Work in the pre-war years was scarce, but Graham acquired an increasing practice, especially after Heald took Silk in 1937.

Like most of his generation Graham left the Bar during the Second World War, serving in the RAF and later at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. He returned to practice in 1945. His practice increased rapidly and he was well justified in taking Silk in 1953.

In the post-war years there were many complaints of the inadequacy of the Chancery Division for the trial of intellectual property disputes. Ultimately the Patent Court was established with the objective that such cases should be tried by judges with the requisite experience. It was a matter of surprise to his friends that it was not until 1969, when he was over 60, that Graham was appointed a Chancery Judge to sit in that court. The court had not at first been as successful as had been hoped. In due course Graham became the senior Patent Judge. His work in that court was admirable. He was patient, courteous and thorough with an eye to what detail was relevant and what was not. He also occasionally shared in the general work of that division. It was a matter of some surprise and disappointment to him that he was not promoted but perhaps age told against him. Graham retired in 1981 when he was 75. He had for some years while still at the Bar served as a Deputy Chairman of Salop Quarter Sessions.

He was a devoted member of the Middle Temple of which he became a Bencher in 1961 and Treasurer in 1979. It was largely his foresight in arranging for the purchase long ahead of a large quantity of oak which enabled the 18th-century floor of the Middle Temple hall to be so successfully relaid as its appearance today many years later bears witness.

He was a man of many friends and interests which included golf and sailing. In 1931 he married Annie Willson, always known as Nan, who died earlier this year. Their marriage of more than 60 years was one of the greatest happiness. They had four sons to whom and to whose families their devotion was complete.

(Photograph omitted)

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