New presiding judges named as six barristers and solicitor join High Court

Spencer: assigned to QBD

The Lord Chief Justice has named the next quartet of presiding judges after the current post-holders’ terms finish at the end of 2017, having named seven new High Court judges earlier this month.

Their number includes the first Bangladesh-origin judge to reach that level, and a solicitor who has been a full-time tribunal judge for 16 years.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker has been appointed the presiding judge of the Midland Circuit, to succeed Mr Justice Haddon-Cave. On the Northern Circuit, Mr Justice Dove will replace Mr Justice Turner.

Mr Justice Edis will take over the South Eastern Circuit from Mr Justice Spencer. Finally, the Wales Circuit will see Mr Justice Picken succeed Mrs Justice Davies.

The four barristers will each serve for three years. They have between 12 and 18 years’ experience on the bench, having all started as recorders, with Mr Justice Picken the latest to join the High Court bench, in 2015.

Frances Crook, CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform, tweeted: “Oh. Look. Four white chaps appointed as Presiding Judges, one of whom is replacing a woman. Just saying.”

Akhlaq Ur-Rahman Choudhury QC of 11KBW is to be the first Bangladesh-origin High Court judge, replacing solicitor Sir Gary Hickinbottom, who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Choudhury, who is 50, was called in 1992 and took silk in 2015. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2009 and a deputy High Court judge in 2016. He will be assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD).

Solicitor Peter Lane is also joining the QBD, following the retirement of Sir Michael Burton. The 64-year-old was admitted as a solicitor in 1985 and became a salaried immigration adjudicator in 2001. Since 2014 he has been president of the General Regulatory Chamber.

His Honour Judge Julian Goose QC will join the bench when Dame Laura Cox retires. Aged 56, the former head of Zenith Chambers in Leeds will also be assigned to the QBD. He was appointed as a senior circuit judge in 2013.

The appointment of Simon Bryan QC of Essex Court Chambers, again to the QBD, will follow the retirement of Sir Alan Wilkie. Aged 51, he became chief justice of the Falkland Islands in 2015.

Upper Tribunal Judge Gwynneth Frances Knowles QC’s appointment to the Family Division comes in the wake of Sir Peter Jackson joining the Court of Appeal.

Formerly of Atlantic Chambers in Liverpool, the 55-year-old became a salaried judge in 2014 with her appointment as judge of the Upper Tribunal, Administrative Appeals Chamber.

Jonathan Cohen QC of 4PB will also be assigned to the Family Division after the retirement of Sir Antony Edwards-Stuart.

Mr Cohen, who is 66, has been a fee-paid tribunal judge since 2000 and was authorised to sit as a deputy High Court judge in 2005.

Finally, Martin Spencer QC of Hailsham Chambers, will be assigned to the QBD following the death of Dame Frances Patterson.

Mr Spencer, who is 61, is president of the Expert Witness Institute and was only authorised to sit as a deputy High Court judge earlier this year.

All the new High Court judges take on their posts on 2 October.

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