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A tribute to Nicholas Crichton

Date:20 FEB 2014
Senior Designated Family Judge for London

This is to wish Nick well on his retirement.  I first met Nick when he sat as a recorder at Milton Keynes, where I was DFJ.  This ‘whirlwind' arrived and swept through the court, taking in the judiciary and staff who were all pleased to see him and disposing of cases quickly and with a remarkable intensity.

In the last few years our paths have crossed much more but that impression has not changed.  In a world where lawyers weigh their words carefully, Nick has always been clear and straightforward; in a world of sometimes restricting deference he has always said what he believes for he rightly considers it important.  His words must ring in our ears: 'but what about the child'.

His commitment to the paramount welfare of children has been remarkable and he has made the link between legal process and human difficulty, and sometimes tragedy, that has ensured that his court has always provided a forum that saw every chance taken for families to improve and to be able to stay together to provide the best environment for a growing child.  He has done this without distorting the system with which we have all been working.

Always smiling, always encouraging, surrounded by devoted staff and admiring colleagues often seeking his guidance, he will leave a vast gap.  Happily not quite such a huge gap as might otherwise have appeared because I am hoping that Nick will join us for some time to come on a part-time basis.

I speak for all the judges, not only in what I have written, but also in wishing Nick a long and rewarding time in retirement.

District Judge Nicholas Crichton received the Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Family Law Award at the 2011 Family Law Awards.

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