Stephen Brown (judge)

Sir Stephen Brown, GBE (born (1924-10-03)3 October 1924) is a retired British judge. He was a Lord Justice of Appeal and the President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales.

Sir Stephen Brown

President of the Family Division
In office
Preceded bySir John Arnold
Succeeded byDame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss
Personal details
Born (1924-10-03) 3 October 1924
Patricia Ann Good (m. 1951)
Children5 (2 sons, 3 daughters)
ParentsWilfrid Brown
Nora Elizabeth Brown
ResidenceHarborne, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Alma materQueens' College, Cambridge
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service Royal Navy
Years of service1943 to 1946
UnitRoyal Navy Volunteer Reserve

Early life and education

Brown was born on 3 October 1924 to Wilfrid Brown and Nora Elizabeth Brown of Longdon Green, Staffordshire. He was educated at Malvern College[1][2] and Queens’ College, Cambridge.[3]


From 1943 to 1946 Brown served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Lieutenant.

Brown became a barrister at the Inner Temple in 1949, became a bencher[4] in 1974, and became Treasurer[4] in 1994. He was Deputy Chairman of Staffordshire Quarter Sessions[4] from 1963-971, and Recorder[4] of West Bromwich from 1965-971. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1966. He was a Recorder, and Honorary Recorder of West Bromwich from 1972–75, was a High Court judge, in the Family Division,[4] from 1975–77, and in the Queen's Bench Division from 1977–83, and was Presiding Judge of the Midland and Oxford Circuit[4] from 1977-81.

Brown became a Privy Counsellor in 1983[5] and was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal (1983–88)[6] and, finally, President of the Family Division (1988–99) of the High Court of England and Wales. On 19 November 1992, he delivered the landmark ruling that doctors treating Tony Bland, who had been in a persistent vegetative state since suffering serious brain damage in the Hillsborough disaster more than three years earlier, could withdraw food and treatment keeping him alive. Treatment was ultimately withdrawn on 22 February 1993, after the House of Lords rejected an appeal by the Official Solicitor, and Mr Bland died on 3 March 1993.[7]

He was a member of the Parole Board of England and Wales from 1967 to 71, of the Butler Committee on mentally abnormal offenders[4] from 1972 to 1975, and of the Advisory Council on Penal System in 1977. He was Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors[6] from 1971-75. He was Chairman of the Council of Malvern College from 1976-94.[4]

As of 10 January 2009, he is also a member of the Advisory Committee of Children’s Rights International.[2] He has served as President of several organisations : Edgbaston High School, 1989–;[4] Malvernian Society, 1998–.[4]

Honours and decorations

Brown was knighted in 1975. Brown was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1999.

He has received an honorary fellowship and several honorary degrees:

Brown was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1999.

Personal life

In 1951, Brown married Patricia Ann Good, daughter of Richard Good from Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. They had twin sons and three daughters. They live in Harborne, Birmingham.


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Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John Arnold
President of the Family Division
Succeeded by
Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss
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