The death was announced of the former Treasury Solicitor Sir Paul Jenkins following surgery, aged 63.
Educated at Harrow County School for Boys and Manchester University, he was Called to the Bar in 1977 and joined the Government Legal Service in 1979. From 2006, he was for eight years the most senior lawyer to the government. Two of his defining moments were the Leveson Inquiry into press standards and the mediated settlement over claims brought by 12 British citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay. But the achievement of which he was most proud was bringing the fragmented government legal departments into a single organisation.
He was recently appointed Treasurer of Middle Temple and patron of the Public Law Project.
Last year he told magazine Civil Service World: ‘One of the more bizarre things about becoming treasurer of Middle Temple is that I have to have a coat of arms, which has a motto at the bottom. I didn’t want any Latin because that’s not what state school boys have, so I’m having: “Speak truth unto power”.’
Sir Paul was also a trustee and board member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.
An arch-Europhile, since leaving Whitehall he gained a huge Twitter following for his observations on the Brexit process. His last tweet, a few days before he died, read: ‘I’m advised against tweeting whilst slurping morphine, but, as you may already realise, I think TM is useless, ditto Corbyn and Brexit stinks.’
Jason Housden, interim chief executive at Matrix Chambers, where he was an associate member, said: ‘He was a committed and pioneering lawyer, a great colleague and a simply wonderful friend. He will be missed beyond words.
‘As news of his death sinks in the tears will flow, but he leaves behind a lifetime of achievement and a wealth of happy memories for all who knew him.’ See a tribute by Anthony Inglese CB here, and an article written by Sir Paul Jenkins last year on one of his great passions, social mobility, here.