He was educated at Street Andrew"s, Pangbourne, and Eton.
After working abroad in Australia and New Zealand on a sheep farm, Hobhouse returned to Christ Church, Oxford in 1951. He became a barrister and was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in 1955. He later became a Bencher.
Hobhouse was made a High Court Judge in 1982.
He later received a knighthood. On 1 October 1998 he was appointed as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, becoming a life peer as Baron Hobhouse of Woodborough, of Woodborough in the County of Wiltshire.
Lord Hobhouse was married to Susannah Roskill.
He was made a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1993, when he was also made a member of the Privy Council.