Educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford, he was called to the Bar in 1955. In 1963 he married Bridget Min Hart-Davis, daughter of Sir Rupert Hart-Davis and sister of Adam Hart-Davis. He took silk in 1972.
Silsoe deliberately followed a career in planning law, his favoured area, rather than spending his life in law courts, an environment he did not particularly enjoy. He was leading counsel for the proposers in notable public inquiries beginning with the Thorp nuclear fuel reprocessing plant and finishing with the Heathrow airport Terminal 5 expansion inquiry. Between the two he appeared in those for Heathrow Terminal 4, Gatwick North Terminal and Sizewell B and Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations. Silsoe never used a computer, typewriter or even a calculator, writing all communications longhand and making calculations the same way, often over many sheets of paper. He was renowned as a tireless worker, regularly working through the night on cases.
His self-effacing nature and boyish demeanour served to defuse passions in many of these hotly disputed cases. He appeared to have no ego, although the consensus is that he was both highly intelligent and very persuasive.
In his youth he was an excellent skier, preferring to ski off-piste on powder snow. There are stories of visitors to his chambers being treated to the sight of him hopping up the stairs as part of his training for his next skiing trip. His other passions were Russia - he was a champion of Lyra, a Russian chamber choir, and supported the family of a scientist working on the Chernobyl cleanup - and singing. Although he claimed never to have had a music lesson he was a good singer with a clear bass voice.
Silsoe lived near Reading, and was an active member of the congregation at All Saints Church, Rotherfield Peppard, acting as volunteer "taxi driver" for a number of infirm or learing disabled parishioners and serving for some years on the Parochial Church Council. He was instrumental in shaping the revised Henley deanery in the late 1990s.
Lord Silsoe was succeeded by Simon Rupert Trustram Eve, 3rd Baron Silsoe.