Robert Finch (Lord Mayor)

Sir Robert Gerard Finch (born 1944 in Ootacamund, India – 31 March 2016) was a British businessman, lawyer, and Lord Mayor of London from 23 July 2003 to 22 July 2004.

Born in British India, Finch was educated at Felsted School and the College of Law. He joined Linklaters in 1969, progressed to Partner in 1974,[1] and Head of Real Estate from 1997 to 1999.[2] Linklaters' most Senior Partner, he left the firm on 1 July 2005 to become Chairman of property developer Liberty International,[2] overseeing its transition to a REIT when the status was first introduced.

He was Alderman for the City Ward of Coleman Street, having first been elected to represent Coleman Street in 1992. He became a Sheriff in 1999, Master of the Solicitors' Company in 2000, and Lord Mayor of London in 2003.[3]

In 2008, following a change to the voting system to the Court of Aldermen, he was successfully challenged by a previously unheard-of young lawyer, Matthew Richardson (now Alderman), in a close-fought campaign.[4] Finch admitted to having overspent on the campaign, by not declaring the use of Liberty's company car and chauffeur. When challenged, in Finch and another v Richardson (2008), a judge ruled that ignorance of the law could constitute by virtue of inadvertence a defence in electoral law: a point that hitherto existed in Scots law and Northern Ireland law, but not in English law.[5]

Finch was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2004 for "services to the City of London".[1]

He died on 31 March 2016 at the age of 71 after a short illness.[6]


  1. Davey, Jenny (27 August 2005). "'If you think I've come here to set the record for the shortest chairmanship of a FTSE 100 company, you must be mad'". The Times. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  2. Westacott, Gemma (20 June 2005). "Sir Robert Finch quits Linklaters for Liberty". The Lawyer. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  3. Stephenson, Natalie (21 November 2003). "The Lord Mayor's show". Property Week. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  4. Russell, Jonathan (5 April 2008). "Forget Boris and Ken, it's Finch vs Richardson for Alderman". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  5. "Finch and another v Richardson (2008)". WLR Daily. Incorporated Council of Law Reporting. Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  6. FINCH
Civic offices
Preceded by
Sir Gavyn Arthur

Lord Mayor of London

Succeeded by
Sir Michael Savory
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