History to be made as gay judge looks set to swipe Lord Denning’s old job title

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By Katie King on

Sir Terence Etherton would be the first openly gay Master of the Rolls


Rumours are flying around legal London that Downing Street is about to announce its first openly gay Master of the Rolls.

It’s looking likely that the country’s new most senior civil judge is going to be Sir Terence Etherton, who is both openly gay and married to a man.

The vacancy came up when Lord Dyson, who is still the current Master of the Rolls, quit the post in February having expressed unhappiness about legal aid cuts. Though rumours have been circulating about his replacement since then, top legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg set tongues wagging overnight when he said there are “strong rumours” that Etherton is going to be appointed.

University of Cambridge graduate Etherton became a QC in 1990, and is currently the head of the Chancery Division. In 2014, he featured alongside Alan Carr and Sue Perkins in The Independent’s list of top LGBT people, and in the same year he married his partner Andrew Stone at a London synagogue.

Though the future appointment is not set in stone just yet, legal commenter Rozenberg — whose connections within the higher echelons of the judiciary are unparalleled — is well placed to make predictions of this nature.

And the legal Twitterati seem pretty happy about the news. Yesterday, Rozenberg himself — who has recently began writing a series for the Legal Cheek Journal, and had previously tipped Etherton as a future candidate for the Supreme Court bench — described the judge as an “excellent choice” for the role.

Other happy commentators include Phillip Marshall QC, who said Rozenberg’s prediction would be “an excellent and hugely satisfying appointment”, and gay academic Dr Steven Vaughan who commented on the “great news”.

Other big names to hold the title of Master of the Rolls include law student favourite Lord Denning — who has often been accused of homophobia — and current Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger.