Lord Lloyd-Jones re-joins the Supreme Court… seven months after retiring
Sir David Richards also elevated to top bench
Two new justices have been appointed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
The UK’s top court has confirmed that Sir David Richards will be replacing Lady Arden who retired in January, whilst Lord Lloyd-Jones will be re-appointed after the mandatory retirement age for judges in England and Wales was increased from 70 to 75.
The top bench is currently made up of 11 men and one woman, all of whom are white.
Lord Reed, President of the Supreme Court, commented:
“We look forward to welcoming Lord Lloyd-Jones back to his position as a Justice. Following his retirement in January 2022, having reached the then mandatory retirement age of 70 shortly before it was increased by Parliament to 75, he has continued to hear cases as a member of the Court’s Supplementary Panel. He will continue to make an enormously valuable contribution to the Court on a wide range of cases, and especially in dealing with appeals in the field of international law and criminal law.”
David Lloyd-Jones grew up in Pontypridd in Wales and studied law at Downing College, Cambridge. He was called to the bar in 1975, the same year in which he became a Fellow of Downing College, a post which he held until 1991. After becoming a QC in 1999 with his practice including international law, EU law and public law, he went on to become a judge in the High Court in 2005 and the Court of Appeal in 2012.
It has today been announced that Lord Lloyd-Jones has been re-appointed to his position as a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Sir David Richards will join the Supreme Court as a Justice to fill the vacancy created by Lady Arden’s retirement. Find out more https://t.co/CWubLkL0DV pic.twitter.com/u3E6ERHhfw
— UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) August 17, 2022
Meanwhile, Sir David Richards was educated at Oundle School and then Trinity College Cambridge where he also studied law. He was called to the bar in 1974 and primarily built his practice around company and corporate insolvency work, taking silk in 1992. His life as a judge began in the High Court in 2001 and consists of stints in High Court’s Chancery Division in 2003, the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal from which he retired last year upon reaching 70.
Commenting on the new appointment, Lord Reed said: “We are also delighted that Sir David Richards will be joining us as a Justice of the Court. His outstanding legal ability and breadth of experience, notably in company law and corporate insolvency, will maintain the Court’s expertise in these areas following Lady Arden’s retirement, and will be invaluable in maintaining the high quality of our judgments and our reputation as an international centre of legal excellence.”
The appointments have received a mixed response on legal Twitter.
Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC tweeted: “Both of these Davids are good and clever judges. But it’s disappointing that the UKSC continues to be all white and 11/12 male. The secrecy of the process makes it difficult to understand the reasons why. There are several excellent candidates in the CA who are women or PoC.”
Elsewhere, James Lee, a professor of law at King’s College London, wrote: “David Richards LJ is an excellent Chancery judge. However, despite all the efforts made to promote a wide range of applications, these appointments do not advance the diversity of the highest level of the judiciary.”
Gatehouse Chambers’ Faisel Sadiq also commented on Twitter: “I’m pretty cross about this. Just looking at the EWCA (and only the judges I know) we have Simler, King, Carr, and Singh each and any of whom would have been brilliant additions. Do they release D&I stats? They should. The results might answer many of our questions.”
In recent times the UKSC has taken steps to try and improve its openness and diversity, including teaming up with a charity to launch its first-ever paid internship aimed at aspiring barristers from underrepresented communities.
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“Just looking at the EWCA (and only the judges I know) we have Simler, King, Carr, and Singh each and any of whom would have been brilliant additions.”
There is a simple answer to this.
These judges, while brilliant, are all significantly younger than Lord Lloyd-Jones and Sir David Richards. While age, in itself, is not a valid reason for appointing judges, it does (in this context) tend to correlate with experience. Which is a valid reason.
We then have the obvious point that Lord Lloyd-Jones’ competence and ability is already well-established, given his first stint as a Supreme Court justice.
By my calculation, all the aforementioned Court of Appeal judges will still be younger than Lord Lloyd-Jones and Sir David Richards are now, when the latter retire at 75. They will be free to apply/re-apply then (if not earlier), at which time they may well be the most experienced – and the best – candidates.