Lord Mance follows ex-colleagues Neuberger and Clarke back to the commercial bar following Supreme Court retirement

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He joins 7KBW as an arbitrator

Image credit: UK Supreme Court

Lord Mance has joined 7 King’s Bench Walk (7KBW) following his retirement as deputy president of the Supreme Court.

The 75-year-old, who left the UK’s top bench last month after reaching the compulsory retirement age, joins the London-based set as an arbitrator and will cover a variety of cases, including international, commercial and investment arbitration.

It’s familiar territory for Mance. Before embarking on an illustrious judicial career, he was a barrister at 7KBW and handled a broad range of commercial work. The Oxford grad was appointed as a commercial judge in 1993, before being elevated to the Court of Appeal six years later. He joined the Supreme Court on its formation in 2009.

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Head of chambers at 7KBW, Gavin Kealey QC, said that he was delighted that Mance had chosen to return to his old stomping ground. He said:

“He will feel at home there, even to the point of occupying the same room that he once shared with Andrew (Lord Justice) Longmore when they first started in chambers as barristers. Jonathan Mance can be expected to be in great demand as an arbitrator with his experience, intellect and personality, and we look forward to his being active across a very broad range of work internationally.”

As an interesting aside, Lady Justice Arden (Lord Mance’s wife) is set to join the Supreme Court later this year. Arden, who grew up in Liverpool and studied law at Cambridge, is one of three new faces, alongside Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Sales.

Mance’s new role follows similar moves by two of his former Supreme Court colleagues.

Last year, ex-Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger joined elite commercial set One Essex Court as an arbitrator. At the same time, his former bench buddy, Lord Clarke, secured himself a similar gig just around the corner at 10 Fleet Street — a small team of arbitrators operating in connection with Quadrant Chambers.

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Mate, you’re 75 – go to the Caribbean, or live at a golf course. Sheesh.



Doubt he’ll actually arbitrate regularly at all.



Is he coming in to play minesweeper or what?



This ongoing professional business connection between retired judges and chambers must end! It’s not in the public interest for any kind of judge, let alone senior judges, to go back and have business connections with chambers whose tenants have been appearing before them.



All of those years of hard work, determination and intellectual rigor leading to oneself being described as one’s “former bunch buddy”; simply delicious.



I lolled at “bench buddy” and “gig”



Arden & Mance are a bit of a power couple. Both were top QCs at very good chambers – 7KBW/Erskine – both we’re appointed to the High Court/Court of Appeal, & now the Supreme Court.



“a bit of a power couple”.

Hard to please. What would a proper power couple be in your view? Prime Minister and Chancellor?



Poor phrasing. By “bit” I didn’t mean they weren’t ‘quite a’ power couple.



Who loses their room then?



Why oh why would you want to grind away at the Bar at that age?

You could be either enjoying what little time you have left on this earth with your family, eating at the finest restaurants in the world, strolling around London’s fine parks or further afield, or even writing books or newspaper columns if pontificating to the world is more your bag.

But no. Instead he’s chosen to arbitrate the commercial dispute between gauche businessman A and barrow boy B. Life is too fvcking short.



He will do little work but be paid a retainer by 7KBW for the great marketing his presence offers.



Doubt it. Never heard of this happening at the bar.



They do it because they love it.

No joke



You don’t listen carefully enough then.



No, he won’t!

(7KBW member)



Comment of the year. So right.

I never understand why such distinguished legal figures re-enter the fray, however occasionally and however good the terms.

Dear Lord Mance, you’ve done it all. You’re a legal superstar. If you were a woman you would have had the ultimate accolade of being revered by Katie King.

Retire in bliss. Do the stuff that we all wish we could do in retirement. Just come and take port at Middle Temple now and again.



At my first firm, there was an elderly consultant who came in and pottered about dealing with a tiny caseload. Ten years before this, he had closed his own practice, which he had run successfully for many years, making himself a substantial living.

One day, I asked him why, in his 70s, he wasn’t thinking about enjoying the fruits of his labours. He looked at me quizically. “But what would I do all day? Shout at the maid?”



I read last week “What if you are the sort of person who hates the idea of giving up work? One wealth manager at Killik summed up why he has not retired, aged 70: “I don’t like gardening, I can’t play sports, I already travel with work, I have no ambition to run a vineyard and I am hopeless at DIY.” He is far from alone.” – so fair play and good luck to Lord Mance; and as I approach retirement I similarly wonder what might I do. So he is far from alone.


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