News

Lord Sales sworn in as newest Supreme Court judge

By on
31

Oxbridge double grad will take part in a special ceremony later today

Lord Sales

Lord Sales has defied the Daily Mail to join the highest court in the land. The top judge, one of those targeted by the newspaper in its notorious “Enemies of the People” front page, takes the oath as the newest member of the Supremes this morning.

The appointment of Sales was announced back in June, alongside Lady Arden and Lord Kitchin.

Sales, now 56, studied law at both Cambridge and Oxford University and was called to the bar in 1985. Surprisingly in light of his stellar career since then, he claims not to be a natural orator. In an interview with his old school magazine in 2017, Sales said:

“I didn’t think it would be for me because I am quite shy and found public speaking difficult… when I received the RGS [Royal Grammar School] King’s Tie from former Headmaster Tim Young in 1998, which was a real honour, I had to give a speech at school assembly and, absurdly, it felt the most nerve-wracking thing I’d done in a while. I barely slept the night before I was so nervous.”

The self-confessed “law geek” was initially an employment enthusiast but shifted to commercial law as a pupil at 11KBW. Once taken on he became junior of choice to chambers founder Lord Irvine QC — described by future Prime Minister Tony Blair, an Irvine pupil, as “tyrannical but a genius”.

That relationship proved controversial in years to come, when Sales became First Treasury Junior Counsel — in effect, the government barrister of choice for big cases — in 1997 at the age of just 35 and without much prior experience in public law. Irvine was Lord Chancellor at the time, leading to press complaints about “cronyism”.

Sales held the position until 2008, regularly racking up more than half a million in fees every year, until taking a big pay cut to join the High Court.

The 2019 Chambers Most List

Moving up the ranks, Sales joined the Court of Appeal in 2014. In that lofty position, he’s been involved in deciding high-profile cases such as a Labour party voting row and the Miller Article 50 case. It was the decision in Miller that saw Sales, along with two other judges, branded “enemies of the people” by the Daily Mail. The fallout saw security at the Sales family home reviewed by anti-terrorism police.

Many of Sales’s cases on the Court of Appeal have been in the immigration law field, where his judgments are seen as reliably pro-government by lawyers representing migrants and asylum seekers.

But former chambers colleagues say that Sales is well cut out for his new role. Sean Jones QC told Legal Cheek: “I have the very greatest respect for him. He manages somehow to be down to Earth and pragmatic whilst taking a great joy in tackling the most intellectually challenging questions”.

While 11KBW veteran James Goudie QC said that “he masters previously unfamiliar areas totally and rapidly, so is very well placed for the full range of Supreme Court and Privy Council work”.

Sales, who enjoys reading, hiking and swimming in his spare time, is married to clinical psychologist Miranda Wolpert. He joins fellow Supreme Court newbies Kitchin and Arden, who took the oath in October 2018. That occasion was marked by an official Instagram story. We’ll be looking out for some Salesy selfies.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

31 Comments

Anonymous

An apt January appointment.

Anonymous

That’s brilliant. Love the gag! Cheered me up on a Monday morning.

sue r pipe

But what about Lord Harley, who today declares himself senior to the Judge proceeding over his trial and acquitted himself?

To rapturous applause from the jury, no less!

Anonymous

M7 of Blair

Anonymous

M7?

Anonymous

Another white, middle class, heterosexual male joins the Supreme Court, shock horror!!!

Anonymous

Could you point me towards the black, self-defined quasi-sexual aircraft carriers who attended a state school that applied for the role?

Your understanding of the equality problems plaguing the upper-echelons of the judicial system is incredibly superficial.

Anonymous

I stated an obvious fact but it seems you do not like that fact, I wonder why?!!!

Anonymous

Not the OP, but you presented it in a negative way when there was no reason to. Judicial appointments should be on merit, not quotas. Diversity for diversity’s sake is moronic.

Tim

Disablist comment. Please delete.

🐑

Timmy Time!!!!!!

Anonymous

Not much in the way of evidence of discrimination against female applicants for supreme court positions to be fair.

Anonymous

There is an argument that appointing an intelligent judge is a diversity hire …

Anonymous

A piss-poor argument predicated on ignorance and insanity, but an argument nevertheless.

Anonymous

Yes. This.

Anonymous

“Many of Sales’s cases on the Court of Appeal have been in the immigration law field, where his judgments are seen as reliably pro-government by lawyers representing migrants and asylum seekers.“

Oh, so he’s not seen as pro-government by all lawyers then.

Just those who regularly act against the government.

Well I’m sure their perspective is entirely neutral and balanced.

Anonymous

Will you stop describing judges and other eminent lawyers by reference to the university they attended decades ago? “Oxbridge double grad”, really? It just sounds as if it was some sort of great achievement to graduate from university (it isn’t), and as if they’d done nothing of note in the decades since then (they did).

The only people to whom an “Oxbridge double grad” is a meaningful description are those who never achieved anything.

And while we’re at it, can we stop using the phrase “achieved a first class degree”? (Or more ridiculous still, “achieved a 2:1”??) So the person went to university like half the population, and was awake enough to get a degree. Some achievement.

Anonymous

University is highly relevant. It is important that only the cleverest people are appointed to the Supreme Court. Since the cleverest people went to Oxbridge, only Oxbridge graduates should be appointed.

Anonymous

Your argument can only be predicated on the basis that all of the cleverest people go to Oxbridge. As that is palpably false your argument does not stand up to scrutiny.

Anonymous

The brightest graduates are Oxbridge graduates. They are also the best educated. That is why the Supreme Court should be comprised of such people. It is frankly embarrassing that there are judges like Hughes and Black, who went to Durham and who are therefore by definition intellectually second rate; they would never have got to the House of Lords, the calibre of which was far higher than the SC.

Anonymous

ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE

Anonymous

Hence the promotion – like night follows day…

Anonymous

But does he have a YouTube channel?

The Youtube Star

Check out my latest vlog where I share how I went from linklaters to a supreme court seat.

It was a lot of wavey garms

Anonymous

A white male russell group educated judge, perhaps not representative of the society we live in

Anonymous

Most people are stupid and badly educated. We do not want the judiciary to representative of the majority of society.

Anonymous

“Irvine was Lord Chancellor at the time, leading to press complaints about “cronyism”.”

— Cronyism at the Bar! You cannot be serious!!

Anonymous

The question isn’t how clever or educated he is. Law is simple, as any any competent lawyer knows – we’re not exactly out there discovering the double helix, folks.

The question is whether he has integrity and the best interests of the British people at heart.

For that…well, let’s leave it to the British people, and history, to decide.

Anonymous

Should’ve gone to Specsavers tho

Anonymous

I dunno… I reckon they is “problem specs” wifout the lenses so he can look well cool

Anonymous

BREXIT THOUGH – WE’RE ALMOST THERE – LET’S HOLD OUR NERVE WITH CONFIDENCE THAT THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS TOO IMBECILIC TO ULTIMATELY DO MORE THAN CAUSE TRIVIAL AND SELF-EMBARASSING SPEEDBUMPS ON OUR PATH BACK TO DEMOCRACY AND INDEPENDENCE.

To the young guys in university or still at school: this is for you. Most of the adults placed into positions of authority over you are imbecilic creeps. Please remember that there are plenty of us older guys who know this and are awaiting the time of change when we will be able to bring back a more normal and healthy environment. Please be patient but also don’t give up hope.

In the meantime, focus on self-cultivation and physical fitness. You will be surrounded by propaganda designed to demoralize you and lower your self-worth. Remember that this is what is intended to do; once you know that, the propagandist loses his power and in place of a puppet gains only an implacable enemy.

Mmm. What’s that that delicious smell again? Is it the smell of BREXIT in the morning?

BRING IT ON

Join the conversation

Related Stories