Peter Maurice Joseph Slot was born in London on 3 December 1932 and died 15 October 2020.
He was educated at Bradfield in the immediate post-war years where he was known for his intellect and the fact that, for a while, he was unbeaten in boxing because there was no one else light enough to fight at his weight.
He loved singing in the College Choir. He would also have loved to have performed in the Greek Theatre, but in his youth he was inhibited by a stutter. After leaving school, for his national service, he was recruited to Cambridge to spend two years learning Russian in order to become an interpreter. It was in the process of becoming fluent in Russian that his stutter left him. This opened the door to the career that he always thought closed to him, which was to become a barrister.
As a barrister he specialised in commercial disputes and in 1982 he became a circuit judge. He was quickly appointed to the Old Bailey where he was the youngest judge in the highest court in the land. He became known for his versatility, switching from commercial cases to criminal and then, in his later years before retirement, to family law.
He was known affectionately in the lawcourts as ‘Slotty’. He was also known, at the Old Bailey, for taking positions that were sometimes regarded as compassionate, always firm and occasionally controversial. The late Lord Denning, a judge who was appointed Master of the Rolls, was once given an entire editorial page in the Daily Mail explaining why “decisions such as the one made by Judge Slot are to be applauded.”
On his retirement in 1997, Dame Anne Rafferty, who served as Lady Justice of Appeal, said of him: “Some have called him unconventional. Some have risked it and called him irreverent. The proper word is courageous. His stand when he thought what he was doing was right has proved a remarkable example to us all.”
Peter was married to Eiluned Lewis in 1962. They have five children, none of whom, to his dismay, shared his ability for quoting Shakespeare and The Ancient Mariner. His two sons went to Bradfield, Owen (A 80-85) and Jonathan (A 83-88).
Peter remained a very keen Old Bradfieldian. He attended many dinners and for many years he played in the OB Golf Society where he was notorious for his idiosyncratic and not altogether successful sidesweep putting stroke. Hosting the Bar vs the OBGS match at Woking every year was a highlight, as were the many OBGS golf tours he attended. His sporting highlight was winning the Bar Golf Tournament in 1961. His final attempt to win back that trophy was in 2011, making him the only golfer to have played in the tournament 50 years after winning it.
In retirement he started a business as a stamp dealer. He also continued to work as a lay-preacher in his village church in Betchworth, Surrey. A book of his collected sermons, A Layman’s Faith, was published in 2013.
One of his favoured subjects for his sermons was Remembrance Sunday. In one such sermon, he writes that those who gave their lives “have left it to us to build the peace, to bring the justice, to live with the honour and, in the end, to turn the moral vision into reality.” That is certainly how he tried to live his life.
He was a wise, warm, humorous and honourable man. Much loved and so fondly remembered by the large family that he leaves behind.
Owen Slot and Jonathan Slot