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Lord Chief Justice to retire

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Lord Burnett steps down next September after six years in role

Lord Burnett

The Lord Chief Justice will retire next September following six years in the position.

In statement this morning, Lord Burnett of Maldon said he had informed His Majesty The King of his intention to step down from the top judicial role.

“When I was appointed,” Burnett said, “I thought that serving for around six years was probably realistic given the additional responsibility that the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 placed on the Lord Chief Justice of the day. “I made my final decision on the timing many months ago.”

The Lord Chief Justice is president of all the courts of England and Wales, and sits in both the criminal and civil divisions of the Court of Appeal, as well as the Divisional Court.

Lord Burnett was appointed to the role in October 2017 and upon retiring will have completed a six year tenure — a feet unmatched by any of his predecessors since Lord Lane in the 1980s.

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“It has been a great privilege to serve as Lord Chief Justice,” Burnett said. “I have been honoured to lead a wholly independent judiciary dedicated to the rule of law, the administration of justice and public service which confidently celebrates its traditions yet has quietly assimilated very many modern working practices.”

You can read his full statement here.

Lord Burnett studied law at Oxford University and was called to the bar in 1980, practising both common and public law. His first judicial role came on his appointment as a recorder in 1998.

His replacement will be announced next summer.

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