The Holdsworth Club, founded in 1927 at the University of Birmingham, is one of the largest and oldest law societies in the United Kingdom.
Over the years we have been recognised as one of the most prestigious, inclusive and successful societies nationally. With strong society aims, a focused attitude and support we offer our members the ultimate society experience.
The Holdsworth Student Law Society at the University of Birmingham was founded in 1927 by Professor C.E. Smalley-Baker and named after Sir William Holdsworth.
Sir William Holdsworth remained Patron of the Law Society until his death in 1944. Following in his footsteps Dean Smalley-Baker (1949-72) and Professor Hood-Phillips (1974-86) became the subsequent Patrons.
Over the years we have had a distinguished line of patrons, presidents, academics and students contribute to the pillars of our society.
The list of distinguished Presidents include, but are not limited to, Lord Chancellor, Master of the Rolls Lord Denning, Lords Donaldson, Bingham, Green, Baroness Hale and most recently Lady Justice Gloster (2016-17). Distinguished academics include Sir Arnold McNair and American jurist Dean Roscoe Pound to whom the Golden Medal of the American Bar Association was awarded for ‘conspicuous service to the cause of American jurisprudence’ was presented in 1940. This medal is still worn by Holdsworth Presidents when delivering their Presidential Address.
Past Honorary Presidents
Below are a few of our previous presidents of the Holdsworth Club. Holdsworth Presidents are individuals who have made great strides in the legal sphere and support the club through their term. Our members are honored with the Presidential annual address following their term.
Baroness Hale of Richmond
Baroness Hale of Richmond served as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2017 until her retirement in 2020. She was the first female president of the Supreme Court. She had a career of breaking barriers in the judiciary and has influenced the development of the law in the UK.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury served as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2012 until his retirement in 2017. He undertook three pupillages before becoming a tenant at 11 King’s Bench Walk. He has sat on a glut of landmark decisions, including sitting 11 Supreme Court justices on the Miller case.
Right Honourable Lady Justice Arden
Lady Justice Arden was appointed a Justice of the High Court of England and Wales in 1993, becoming the first female justice assigned to the Chancery Division. She was then appointed to the Supreme Court in 2018. She has written extensively, expressing how the law keeps pace with social change.
Right Honourable Lord Justice Denning
Lord Denning was a controversial judge whose career spanned 37 years, including 20 years as the head of the Court of Appeals. He was known as the ‘people’s judge’ for his willingness to override precedent to what he saw as justice and is regarded as the most celebrated English judge of the 20th century.