The first five of 10 new High Court judges were announced yesterday – including two solicitors from magic circle law firms – but the Judicial Appointments Commission was unable to find enough candidates of sufficient quality among the 52 who applied to fill all the vacancies on the bench.
Only last week, the Lord Chief Justice said there was an “urgent need to act now” to make the High Court bench an attractive destination for lawyers.
It is currently 15 judges short of its full complement of 108.
The newly appointed five will assume their roles from 1 October. “It is anticipated that a further five appointments will be announced in the coming months,” a judiciary press notice said.
The five are:
Sarah Falk, 56, currently a corporate tax partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. She was appointed as a fee-paid deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal, Tax and Chancery Chamber in 2015. She replaces Lady Justice Asplin, who is being elevated to the Court of Appeal. Ms Falk will sit in the Chancery Division.
Judith Farbey QC, 52, a public and administrative law specialist at Doughty Street Chambers. She was appointed as a fee-paid deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal, Administrative Appeals Chamber in 2014 and as a Recorder in 2016. She will replace the retiring Sir Nicholas Blake and sit in the Queen’s Bench Division.
Edward Murray, 60, an American-born and educated consultant to and former senior partner of Allen & Overy’s derivatives and structured finance practice. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2009 and as a deputy High Court judge in 2013. He will sit in the Queen’s Bench Division following the retirement of Mr Justice Mitting.
Her Honour Judge Johannah Cutts QC, 54, was appointed as a Recorder in 2002, a circuit judge in 2011 and a deputy High Court judge in 2014. A criminal barrister by background, she has been assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division following the retirement of Mr Justice Globe.
His Honour Judge David Michael Waksman QC, 60, is a former commercial barrister appointed as a Recorder in 2001, deputy High Court judge in 2005 and a specialist circuit judge in 2007. He too will sit in the Queen’s Bench Division following the retirement of Mr Justice Blair.