Lord Kitchin to retire from Supreme Court

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Top judge to spend more time with family

Lord Kitchin

Lord Kitchin will hang up his judicial robes later this year, the UK Supreme Court has confirmed.

Former barrister Kitchin, 67, joined the top bench in October 2018 alongside Lady Justice Arden. She retired in January 2022.

“It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure to serve as a full time Justice of the Court,” Kitchin said. “This is the right time for me to step down and it will give me an opportunity to spend more time with my family and to pursue other interests.”

He will officially step down at the end of the legal year on 29 September.

Kitchin studied natural sciences and law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1977. Taking silk in 1994, he was appointed a judge of the High Court’s Chancery Division in 2005 and senior judge of the Patents Court two years later. He was elevated to the role of Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011 and was responsible for overseeing intellectual property appeals.

It is expected the Lord Chancellor will convene an independent selection panel to fill the vacancy left by Kitchin’s departure.

News of the retirement plans come as the Supreme Court prepares to head north for a special sitting at Manchester’s Civil Justice Centre. Five justices, including President Lord Reed, will hear three cases between between 6 and 9 March.

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Bad Pun Lover

Kitchin to spend more time in the living room?


Kirkland NQ

I’d like to apply for the vacancy.


Troll LJ

Needs brains unfortunately, not a sweatshop gimp.



Feb 2 2023 8:46pm: exactly. Someone with legal skills, rather than a person who spends their time filling in boilerplate documents.



He was a surprising choice. The vast majority of SC cases are commercial chancery matters, with some public law. Little point in wasting a space with a specialist – in his case, IP – who falls outside these fields. The key is not to appoint anyone from Crime, PI, Family or Construction. People who practise in those areas are second rate intellectually, and when any appeals get to the SC, it is a walk in the park for the commercial chancery judges to deal with them.


Shock- not all law is commercial chancery

Do you not feel embarrassed as you press ‘send’ on such an inane comment?



Can’t believe this second rate garbage commentary.



Views like this represent the ugliest part of the legal profession – a closed field determined to keep outsiders out and think they are the most superior of beings intellectually.



Feb 2 2023 2:37pm: you are right. The majority of cases decided by the Supreme Court relate to commercial and chancery matters and the priority should be to get judges from those fields.


You’re wrong

This is nonsense. Look at page 93 of the Supreme Court Annual Report for a breakdown of the fields of law involved in their appeals:

Very few concern commercial and chancery.


He's actually right

Feb 3 2023 2:03pm: the Annual Report shows that the majority of cases are commercial, chancery and public law.


Second rate commenter

Didn’t Lady Hale, who graduated with a started first, top of her year at Cambridge and then top of her year again in the bar finals, specialise in family law? Is she one of the people you refer to as being second rate intellectually?






Hale was always second rate.



“Great Supreme Court leading judgments of Lady Hale”. A book no-one will ever write.



Hale was brilliant, first-rate even at public law.

Private law, not so much. One needs only read the disaster that is Stack v Dowden to realise that.



Having appeared before Lord Kitchin when he was in the CA, and who has a brain the size of a planet, I rather suspect that regardless of the subject area he was dealing with he would have done so with ease.

As for this comment: “People who practise in those areas are second rate intellectually” I have never in all my years at the Bar (as a commercial and chancery practitioner) read such a load of rubbish who clearly comes from someone who has close to zero understanding of the Bar



Agreed. The second rate intellectually tend to be the workaday braying public school types who trade off their plummy accent.



Feb 2 2023 2:37pm: 100% true. People who do PI, family and crime are invariably second tier intellectually. As you would expect, the brightest people gravitate to the toughest work, namely chancery and commercial.


S Inik

They’ll be looking for someone keen on 3:2 decisions overruling the Court of Appeal in which the majority say the Court of Appeal got the law completely wrong and there are at least two substantive judgments explaining why which both say different things while the minority judgments make sense, are consistent with prior law and are delivered by the judges with the most experience in whatever field of law is in issue. That seems to be fashion in the Supreme Court just now.


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