Ex-Lord Chief Justice returns to Essex Court where he completed pupillage more than 40 years ago

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Lord Thomas’ new arbitration role follows similar career moves by Neuberger and Clarke

The former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, has returned to the London chambers where he trained as a barrister.

Thomas, who stepped down from his role as head of the judiciary of England and Wales on 1 October, has secured an arbitrator role at top commercial player Essex Court Chambers. The set — which is just a stone’s throw from Lincoln’s Inn Fields — specialises in a range of top-paying areas including banking, civil fraud and company law.

Thomas already has historic links to his new chambers. Over 40 years ago, the ex-Chief Justice completed his pupillage at Temple’s 4 Essex Court. In 1994 it subsequently changed its name to what we now know as Essex Court and upped sticks to Lincoln’s Inn.

In a statement, Thomas said that “after 21 years as a judge, it is a pleasure to return to Essex Court Chambers where I was a pupil, a junior and a silk for the preceding 25 years”. The Cambridge law graduate — who was called to the bar in 1969 and took silk in 1984 — continued:

“Although I re-join in a different capacity, it is good to be doing so at a time when the whole of Legal London must do all it can to build upon and strengthen its position as a pre-eminent centre for all types of legal work and dispute resolution.”

Thomas has joined the arbitration arm of Essex Court, which operates under the name Arbitrators at 24 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Essex Court’s profile on Legal Cheek’s Chambers Most List 2017-18 shows the set — which has 43 juniors and 46 QCs — offers around four pupillage positions annually, each with a sizeable award of £65,000.

David Foxton QC, head of Essex Court, added:

“We are delighted to welcome Lord Thomas back. He has made an immense contribution to the development of English law and has a worldwide reputation. He will be much sought-after as an arbitrator in commercial disputes.”

The 70-year-old’s switch follows similar moves by former Supreme Court justices Neuberger and Clarke.

Legal Cheek reported last week that ex-Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger has secured an arbitration gig at commercial set One Essex Court. Meanwhile, his former colleague, Lord Clarke, has landed himself a similar role at Quadrant Chambers’ arbitration arm, 10 Fleet Street.

Legal Cheek also noted that the former bench buddies were just a three-minute walk from each other. Perhaps they’ll meet for lunch in Pret.

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