New Pizza Express-loving Lord Chief Justice, dubbed ‘Ian of Essex’, takes to YouTube to deliver first speech

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By Thomas Connelly on

Sir Ian Burnett was officially sworn in yesterday

The new Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), Sir Ian Burnett, has taken the somewhat unusual step of delivering his first public speech as the judiciary’s head honcho via YouTube.

Getting down with the kids, Burnett — who at the age of 59 is the youngest Chief Justice in over 50 years — laid out his “bold vision” for the future yesterday in an online video clip.

Taking over the top spot from Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, ex-Temple Garden Chambers barrister Burnett said:

I am conscious that at times of great change the impartiality and independence of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law must remain a constant.

Burnett, whose YouTube debut has so far racked up over 3,300 views, continued:

These qualities are embedded in the oath we have taken. They are fundamental to our justice system and underpin the effective and smooth functioning of our society. I believe we must be better at explaining that.

Elsewhere in his short speech, the new LCJ took the opportunity to thank his colleagues’ tireless endeavours. “Our courts and tribunals could not thrive without the talents and commitment of the judges and magistrates who sit in them,” Burnett said. “The judiciary of England and Wales has earned a well-deserved reputation for being the best in the world.”

YouTube antics to one side, the new LCJ’s swearing-in ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday morning revealed some interesting Burnett-based titbits.

Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton revealed that Burnett was formerly known to many present as “Ian from Essex”, appearing to allude to him residing in the county with his wife and two children. Trying his best to resist making further jokes, Etherton continued:

I will say no more in this address about his connections with that beautiful county because, with great restraint, I have made a personal vow to say nothing about TOWIE, or to those not so familiar with reality TV, The Only Way is Essex.

Etherton also appeared to disclose a hidden passion of Burnett’s — pizza.

After noting Burnett is “certainly not a typical conventional establishment figure”, Etherton said: “It appears that the only club of which our new LCJ is or has been a member is the Pizza Express Club.”

Watch the new Lord Chief Justice’s address in full below:

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