History made as Dame Sue Carr becomes first woman to lead judiciary in 755 years

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By Thomas Connelly on


Lady Chief Justice

Dame Sue Carr – credit: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

History was made this morning as Dame Sue Carr became the first woman ever to head up the judiciary of England and Wales.

Carr was officially appointed the country’s first Lady Chief Justice at a special swearing in ceremony this morning at the Royal Courts of Justice. She is the 98th person to hold this historic office and the first woman.

The new LCJ was joined by her family who were invited to witness the historic ceremony, which was live-streamed on YouTube for the first time ever.

Commenting on her appointment, Carr said:

“It is a great privilege to assume this role. I would like to pay tribute to Lord Burnett who has demonstrated extraordinary resilience and leadership during a time of great change, including keeping the courts running during the pandemic. He has personally given so much to the law and to the judiciary.”

She continued: “I do not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead, and I look forward to approaching the role with energy, enthusiasm, and positivity. The rule of law is a fundamental constitutional principle which underpins an open, fair and peaceful society, where citizens and businesses can prosper. Our judges and magistrates are its cornerstone.”

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Carr was called to the bar in 1987 and undertook pupillage at Brick Court Chambers and 2 Crown Office Row, now 4 New Square, where she became a tenant in 1988. She developed a broad commercial practice, taking silk in 2003.

Her judicial career began in 2009, when she was appointed a recorder. She was appointed a High Court judge in 2013 and a Court of Appeal judge in 2020.

Carr’s appointment follows the retirement of Lord Burnett who has held the office since 2017.

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