8 February 2016Print This Post

Lord Dyson to retire in October

Lord Dyson

Lord Dyson: increasingly critical of cash-strapped MoJ

Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls and former Supreme Court justice, is to retire in October this year, the Judicial Communications Office has said.

Lord Dyson, who will be 73 this summer, strongly criticised the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) last month over the introduction of enhanced court fees.

Giving evidence to the justice select committee, he accused the MoJ of carrying out “hopeless” research before the new fees were brought in last spring, in a rush to plug a “great big gap” in its finances.

In the summer, he reacted to the news of a further cut of £250m in the MoJ’s greatly reduced budget by questioning whether there was anything left to cut.

On legal aid, he said: “I wish I could say I was confident that legal aid will be restored to something like its former levels within the foreseeable future, but in all honesty I cannot do so.”

Earlier this year, in March, it emerged that Lord Dyson was “personally opposed” to changes in the costs rules for judicial review oral permission hearings put forward by the MoJ.

Not previously known for being outspoken, he was a presiding judge for the Technology and Construction Court between 1998 and 2001.

The judge, who grew up in Leeds and went to Leeds Grammar School, was called to the Bar in 1968. He was appointed QC in 1982, and a High Court judge in 1993.

In 2001 he was appointed Lord Justice of Appeal, and was deputy head of civil justice from 2003 to 2006, before becoming a justice of the Supreme Court in April 2010.

Lord Dyson was appointed as Master of the Rolls in October 2012, replacing Lord Neuberger, who became president of the Supreme Court. He is chairman of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and the Civil Justice Council.

In November 2013, he triggered what became a storm of protest from litigation lawyers over his ruling on relief from sanctions in Mitchell, widely criticised for its harshness, before softening his approach the following year in Denton.

By Nick Hilborne

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