12:46, July 24 156 0 theguardian.com

2020-07-24 12:46:04
Other lives  Bernard Marder obituary

My father, Bernard Marder, who has died aged 91, was a barrister and judge, and a man of principle, integrity, calmness, culture and kindness.

He was born in Manchester into the traditional Jewish household of his parents, Samuel (always known as Mouie), a salesman, and Marie (nee Solomons), a housewife.

He attended Bury grammar school and after national service in Kenya he studied law at Manchester University, graduating in 1951. The following year he was called to the bar in London, by which point he had firmly socialist views. He joined the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, serving as its secretary and remaining a lifelong member. He also became a humanist, always remaining so although being definite about his Jewishness.

In London he attended a left-wing Zionist meeting, where he met Sylvia Levy, a trainee solicitor. They were engaged after three weeks and married in 1953.

Bernard started to specialise in planning law in 1955 and soon gained a reputation enhanced by notable victories, travelling throughout England and Wales to planning inquiries, including successfully protecting Conwy Castle from the construction of a new bridge; this reinforced his interest in early British architecture.

He became a QC in 1977, then a judge in 1983, rising to become president of the Lands Tribunal in 1993. In 1996 he was asked to help judges in South Africa to set up the post-apartheid equivalent of the tribunal, and he travelled to Johannesburg for meetings with, among others, the former judge and anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs.

Retiring in 1998, he constantly attended artistic events, being particularly devoted to the Orange Tree theatre in Richmond upon Thames, in the administration of which he was closely involved. Visiting the Edinburgh festival was a highlight. He threw himself into local affairs, chairing the Richmond Parish Lands Charity and serving many local groups.

Bernard loved travelling, and particularly sailing holidays. They were invariably followed by Sylvia demanding he immediately shave off his beard. He knocked on doors for Labour as recently as the 2017 election. He played a crucial role in the Anjou monthly luncheon club in London, chairing its monthly gatherings with speakers including Keir Starmer, Frances O’Grady and Ed Balls.

He remained down to earth; he loved watching snooker and hugely enjoyed crown green bowling on TV, enthralled by the north country tones of the commentator Harry Rigby. Quizzes were another hobby.

He was a totally devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.

He is survived by Sylvia and his children, Lucy and me, and grandchildren, Daniel, Sophie and Ruby.

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