In the Media

Sir John Thomas will be next lord chief justice

PUBLISHED July 15, 2013

Monday 15 July 2013 by Catherine Baksi

Sir John Thomas is to succeed Lord Judge as lord chief justice, it has been reported, although the appointment has not been officially announced by Downing Street.

Thomas was chosen over the two other applicants - Lady Justice Hallett, who is currently Thomas's deputy at the Queen's Bench Division and who chaired the 7/7 London bombing inquest; and Lord Justice Leveson, who carried out the inquiry into press standards.

Roger Laugharne Thomas, 65, will take up the post in October.

It is understood that the Judicial Appointments Commission has made the recommendation to justice secretary Chris Grayling, who will then make the recommendation to the prime minister. Neither the JAC, the Ministry of Justice nor Downing Street were able to confirm this, or when the formal announcement will be made.

Born in 1947, Thomas was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College Cambridge where he studied law, before being called to the bar by Gray's Inn in 1969.

He practised at the commercial bar in London and became a Queen's Counsel in 1984. He was appointed a recorder in 1987, before being appointed a High Court judge in 1996, and was assigned to the Queen's Bench Division and the Commercial Court.

He was an inspector into the affairs of Mirror Group Newspapers following the death of Robert Maxwell.

From 1998-2001 he was one of the presiding judges of the Wales and Chester circuit.

In June 2003, Thomas became a lord justice of appeal and served as the senior presiding judge for England and Wales from 2003 to 2006.

In October 2008, Thomas was appointed vice-president of the Queen's Bench Division, before succeeding Sir Anthony May as president in October 2011.

He has been deputy head of criminal justice as well as judge in charge of European issues since 2008 and was president of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from May 2008 to December 2010.

Thomas is one of the founding members of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that conducts research, makes recommendations and provides practical guidance in the field of European legal development with a goal of enhancing the European legal integration.

He is an honorary fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a fellow of the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor, and an Honorary Doctor of Law of the Universities of Glamorgan, the West of England and Wales.

He is vice-president of ARIAS (UK), past-president of the British Insurance Law Association and a vice-president of the British Maritime Law Association. He is co-chairman of the trustees of the International Law Book Facility.