A High Court judge disclosed yesterday that he is to resign from the judiciary and join a firm of specialist solicitors, giving up the "isolation" of the Bench for what he called the "fun and mutual support of working in a team".

Mr Justice Laddie, 59, is thought to be the first judge to resign voluntarily from the High Court for 35 years and is the first to join a solicitors' firm. His unwillingness to continue serving on the Bench is a sign that judges are increasingly reluctant to accept what has been traditionally regarded as a "life sentence".

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