Following the appointment of Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers as Senior Law Lord, Sir Igor Judge, President of the Queen's Bench Division, has been appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales with effect from 1 October 2008, Downing Street announced today.
Sir Judge, 67, was called to the Bar in 1963 at Middle Temple and was made a Bencher in 1987. He was a Recorder from 1976 to 1988 and took Silk in 1979. In 1988 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen's Bench Division), was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1996 and became the first President of the Queen's Bench Division in 2005. From 1993 until 1996 he was Presiding Judge for the Midland Circuit, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales from 1998 until 2003 and Deputy Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2003 until 2005.
Commenting on the news of his appointment, Sir Judge praised his predecessor Lord Phillips: "It is an honour for me to succeed Lord Phillips as Lord Chief Justice and Head of the Judiciary in England and Wales. On behalf of the judiciary as a whole, I acknowledge with particular gratitude not only his wide-ranging contribution to the development of the law in so many fields, but also his immense efforts to address and resolve the inevitable problems consequent on the new constitutional arrangements which came into force in April 2006, and to wish him well as he takes up his new duties as Senior Law Lord and, from October 2009, as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Although like Lord Phillips Sir Judge intends to sit across all the jurisdictions, he has decided to continue as Head of Criminal Justice and shall preside regularly in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.
Courts outside central London can expect to see a lot of the Lord Chief Justice as he has promised that paying them regular visits will be an essential part of his timetable to reflect his 'concern for the interests of the country as a whole'.
Sir Judge added: "Like Lord Phillips, I am utterly committed to the principle of judicial independence. The principle is deeply imbedded in our history and our culture and, in the public interest, it must not be undermined or damaged inadvertently or by neglect."
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers praised Sir Judge: "I can think of no-one better suited than Sir Igor to take on the responsibilities of the post. His excellent leadership qualities, displayed in senior judicial posts over the past decade, will stand him, and all judges, in great stead when he takes over from me as Head of the Judiciary on 1 October."
It was also announced today that Mr Justice Jackson and Mr Justice Goldring have been appointed as Lords Justices of Appeal with effect from 1 October 2008 upon the appointment of Sir Judge and the retirement of Lord Justice Buxton respectively. In addition, Mr Justice Aikens has been appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal upon the retirement of Lord Justice Gage, with effect from 19 November 2008.
Mr Justice Rupert Jackson, 60, was called to the Bar in 1972 at Middle Temple and was made a Bencher in 1995. He took Silk in 1987, was a Recorder from 1990 until 1998, and was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 1993. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen's Bench Division) in 1999, and served as Judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court 2004-07.
Mr Justice John Goldring, 63, was called to the Bar in 1969 at Lincoln's Inn and was made a Bencher in 1996. He took Silk in 1987, was a Recorder from 1987 until 1999 and was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 1996. In 1999 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen's Bench Division). He was Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit 2002-05. In 2006 he was appointed a Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Mr Justice Richard Aikens, 59, was called to the Bar in 1973 at Middle Temple and was made a Bencher in 1994. He took Silk in 1986, and was a Recorder from 1993 until 1999. In 1999 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen's Bench Division), and served as Presiding Judge for the South Eastern Circuit 2001-04. He was the Judge in charge of the Commercial Court 2005-06.