Lord Collins was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2009, and was a member of the new UK Supreme Court from its inception in 2009 until his retirement in 2011, since when he has been an Acting Justice of the Court. Since 2011 he has been a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.
Lord Collins read law at Cambridge University, and subsequently took a graduate degree in international law at Columbia University, New York. He qualified as a solicitor in 1968, and became a partner in Herbert Smith & Co in the City of London in 1971, specialising in international law.
In 1997 he became one of the first two solicitors to be appointed practising Queen’s Counsel, and he was appointed a Deputy High Court judge in the same year. In 2000 he was the first solicitor to be appointed to the High Court bench (Chancery Division) direct from private practice, and in 2007 the first former solicitor to be appointed to the Court of Appeal. He was appointed as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in April 2009.
Since 1987 he has been the general editor of Dicey and Morris (now Dicey, Morris and Collins), on the Conflict of Laws, the leading work in that field, and he is the author of numerous books and articles on international law. Since 1975 he has been a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and since 1982 a visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London.
In 1994 he as awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws by Cambridge University, and in the same year he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. Since 1989 he has been an elected member of the Institut de droit international. He is an honorary fellow of Downing College, Cambridge.