Sir Terence Etherton – the current Chancellor of the High Court – was today named as the new Master of the Rolls.
He will take over on 3 October 2016 following the retirement of Lord Dyson.
Sir Terence, who is 65 next month, was called to the Bar in 1974 and became a QC in 1990. He was appointed a High Court judge in 2001 and elevated to the Court of Appeal seven years later. He has been chancellor – head of the Chancery Division – since 2013.
Much is likely to be made of the fact that he is openly gay and entered into a same-sex marriage in late 2014.
From 2006 to 2009, he was chairman of the Law Commission. He is an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, and of Royal Holloway, London University; a visiting professor of law of Birkbeck, London University and an honorary professor of law of Kent University. He has an honorary doctorate in law from City University.
As head of civil justice – and the second most senior judge in England and Wales after the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Terence will assume the chairmanship of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, the Civil Justice Council, the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, and the Magna Carta Trust.
Sir Terence will also play a key role in the court modernisation programme. In a speech last year, he said that there needed to be investment in the county court to ensure that cases were allocated to the right level of judge and in turn free up time in the higher courts.
He also suggested that the financial limits which determine where cases are heard will have to be adjusted.
The selection panel was chaired by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas. The other members were the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, and three lay Judicial Appointments Commissioners: Dame Valarie Strachan, Professor Emily Jackson and Professor Noel Lloyd. The Lord Chancellor was “consulted” as part of the selection process, according to a press release issued by Number 10.
He was then formally appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor.
Lord Thomas said: “I am delighted to congratulate Sir Terence Etherton on his appointment as Master of the Rolls. Following his excellent work as Chancellor over the last three years, I look forward to continuing to work with him closely in the major reform of our system of justice.”