HJA mourns the passing of founder Sir Henry Hodge
Sir Henry Egar Garfield Hodge OBE, 1944 -
died tragically on Thursday 18th June 2009 at University
College Hospital. He had been diagnosed with leukaemia in September
2008. A bone marrow transplant was performed in February 2009 and
he seemed to be recovering well when he was suddenly taken
seriously ill in mid June and died of liver failure. Henry was 65
After qualifying as a solicitor, Henry spent 5
years with Child Poverty Action Group bringing test cases to win
changes in benefit law.
In 1977 he was a founder partner of Hodge
Jones & Allen with me and Peter Jones. Henry rang me up
out of the blue in 1976 when I was in the reception at Offenbach
& Co and said “I understand you want to set up a firm”. We set
up shop in September 1977 on Camden High Street above the Archway
We were one of the first Legal Aid firms,
committed to fighting against injustice and righting wrongs for
disadvantaged members of the community, using legal aid to fund
most of the cases.
Henry became the public face of the firm,
joining many committees such as the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory
Committee on Legal Aid and The Social Security Advisory Committee.
He was later co-opted onto the Law Society Council as a legal aid
We battled together through endless overdraft
and cash flow crises and steadily expanded the firm. Henry wrote
about our growing pains in a number of articles in the LAG
Henry became Vice President of the Law Society
in 1995 but narrowly lost the election for President in the first
Presidential election since 1954. Henry then became Deputy
Chair of the Legal Aid Board before retiring from Hodge Jones &
Allen in 1999 to become a Circuit Judge and later a High Court
Judge and President of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
We are proud to say that Henry was only the
third solicitor to be appointed to the High Court Bench and of
course the first legal aid solicitor to gain that office.
Henry was a great lawyer, friend and partner.
Without his energy and commitment, we would not have got the firm
off the ground.
He loved the Labour party, Arsenal Football
Club and driving a big motorcycle.
After leaving us in 1999, Henry kept in very
close touch, always wanting to know about the overdraft and how we
were coping with endless legal aid cuts and changes in procedure.
He came to our Christmas parties.
Henry was a joy to work with. Kind and
generous as a friend, always jovial, telling jokes, ready for a
quick pint or two in the pub on the way home, loved parties.
Everyone in the firm loved him and all who worked alongside him
will never forget him.
Throughout his life as a solicitor, Henry did
his best to help maintain a viable legal aid scheme that enabled
every citizen to have access to the courts, regardless of their
means. He viewed with dismay the steady erosion of legal aid by
Hodge Jones & Allen has grown over 32
years to be a big firm with 180 staff. 50% of our work is still
funded by Legal Aid. We still do much of the same work we
have always done – crime, family, housing, care, personal injury,
JR, civil liberties, wills and probate. The firm will continue to
bear Henry’s name. The continued existence of Hodge Jones &
Allen and the strong commitment to the founding principles that
Henry helped to establish will help to keep his memory alive in
years to come.
Patrick Allen, Senior
Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP
23 June 2009