William Blair

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Person.png Sir William Blair   Famechain PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Judge, barrister, professor)
William Blair.jpg
BornWilliam James Lynton Blair
31 March 1950
Alma materFettes College, Oxford University/Balliol College, Inns of Court School of Law
Parents • Leo Blair
• Hazel Corscadden
Older brother of Tony Blair, Queen's Counsel and former High Court Judge

Employment.png High Court Judge Queen's Bench Division

In office
27 February 2008 - 1 December 2017

Sir William Blair is a former UK High Court Judge (2008 to 2017). He was previously a Queen's Counsel, specialising in domestic and international banking and finance law.[1]

Sir William Blair is the Chair of the Bank of England’s Enforcement Decision Making Committee (EDMC) and chairs the Law and Ethics in Finance Project, a group concerned with raising standards in the financial sector.[2]


Sir William's younger brother is the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.[3]


Blair took Silk in 1994 and was appointed a Recorder in 1998.

Tax haven barrister

Blair became a Deputy High Court Judge in 2003 and was in the same year admitted as a barrister of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the Territory of the British Virgin Islands.

High Court Judge

On 4 February 2008 it was announced that the Queen had approved his appointment as a High Court Judge, assigned to the Queen's Bench Division. He was sworn in on 28 February. In 2016 he became Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court.

He became a member of London's Financial Markets Law Committee in 2008.

In 2012, he became president of the Board of Appeal of the European Supervisory Authorities.

He is visiting professor of law at the London School of Economics (since 1994) and at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London (since 1999). He has also been, since 1999, an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies (1997), and an academic adviser to the Asian Institute of International Financial Law.

From 2001 to 2008 he served, part-time, as a chairman of the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal (Finsmat) and from 2003 to 2005 he was chairman of the Commercial Bar Association (Combar). He is also chairman of the International Monetary Law Committee of the International Law Association (from 2004), and of the Qatar Financial Centre Appeals Body (2006).

Along with Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, he served as the Co-Convener of the inaugural Qatar Law Forum of Global Leaders in Law, held in Doha, Qatar, from 29–31 May 2009.

Libya's $67 billion sovereign wealth fund

In March 2016, adjourning a case in London’s High Court over the leadership claims of two rival heads of the Libyan Investment Authority, which controls Libya’s $67 billion sovereign wealth fund,[4] Judge Blair declared it would be premature to rule while moves were afoot to form a Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya. Four years later, in August 2020, the GNA's head Fayez al-Sarraj and Aguila Saleh Issa, speaker of the rival eastern-based parliament backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, were calling for elections to resolve Libya's long-standing divisions.[5]


Sir William Blair retired as a High Court Judge on 1 December 2017 to take up a position as Professor of Financial Law and Ethics at Queen Mary University of London.[6][7]

In 2018, he was appointed to sit part-time as a Deputy Judge of the High Court of Hong Kong[8]