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Lord Peter Goldsmith's Biography

 
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Lord Goldsmith was born on 5 January 1950 in Liverpool.

Peter Henry Goldsmith, the son of a solicitor, went to Quarry Bank High School and Gonville & Caius College Cambridge and gained an LLM in 1972 from University College London.

Called to the Bar in 1972, Goldsmith was made a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1987. He sat as a Crown Court Recorder since 1987 and a Deputy High Court Judge since 1994.

In 1995 he was Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales. Although Lord Goldsmith is reported to have no experience in International Law prior to his role as Attorney General, it should be noted that many of his committee roles have been in the international and human rights spheres.

Reportedly a friend of Tony Blair's and involved with the Labour Party at ward level, Lord Goldsmith was the Prime Minister's Personal Representative to the Convention for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Goldsmith was made a life peer in 1999 and on 11 June 2001 was appointed Attorney General, the chief legal adviser to the Government.

In 2002, Lord Goldsmith became a Privy Counsellor.

Lord Goldsmith is married with four children and lives in London, and was a contributor to the publication Common Law, Common Bond.

In the run-up to the 2005 General Election, Lord Goldsmith was caught up in a controversy surrounding the legality of Britain's war against Iraq. Goldsmith's original advice to Tony Blair was leaked to Channel 4 News and The Guardian.

For a very clear background on Goldsmith's involvement in Tony Blair's decision to take Britain into war against Iraq, "The law chief who bowed to Blair" written by John Kampfner as far back as November 2004 was interesting reading. Here is an extract:

"Goldsmith was asked to appear before the cabinet on 17 March to present the case. Sitting in the chair previously occupied by Robin Cook, who had just resigned, he read out his brief statement before Blair moved the discussion on. Questions were not permitted. On the 23 occasions that Iraq had been on the agenda for cabinet discussions, this was the first time a member of the cabinet can recall the Attorney General attending. In the space of a year, a man who had shared the doubts of almost the entire legal establishment about the lawfulness of a war without an unequivocal endorsement from the UN had been prevailed upon to cast those doubts aside. In the fraught weeks of February and March 2003, Goldsmith told lawyer friends that his position was impossible. He wondered out loud whether he should stay in his job. He did the business, and did stay."

In May 2006, Lord Goldsmith called for the closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

In December 2006, Lord Goldsmith came under criticism for scrapping the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

In 2007, Lord Goldsmith was at the centre of a storm again when he insisted that he will play his usual part in overseeing any decision to prosecute in the cash for honours case in spite of question marks over a conflict of interest with his role as a minister.

In 2007, Lord Goldsmith admitted that in the past he had an extra-marital affair with Kim Hollis, the first Asian woman to be a Q.C.

On June 8, 2007, The Guardian claimed, in an article 'Attorney-general knew of BAE and the £1bn. Then concealed it' that Lord Goldsmith hid secret money transfers from international anti-corruption organisations.

Lord Goldsmith categorically denied the allegation.

In June 2007, it was revealed that Lord Goldsmith was to step down after six years as Attorney General. He decided to time his departure with the end of Tony Blair's role as Prime Minister.

On 27 January 2010, Lord Goldsmith gave evidence to the Iraq inquiry in London about the legality of the 2003 Iraq war.

In 2014, Lord Goldmith became co-Managing Partner of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.



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