Aberystwyth Fellow named as Lord Chief Justice

Sir John Thomas has been a Fellow of Aberystwyth University for 11 years

Sir John Thomas has been a Fellow of Aberystwyth University for 11 years

A FELLOW of Aberystwyth University, Sir John Thomas, has been confirmed as the new Lord Chief Justice.

The 65-year old, who has recently been involved in high profile cases such as Abu Hamza and Julian Assange as part of his role as president of the Queen’s Bench Division, will take over the role in October.

Sir John was born in Carmarthen and brought up in Ystradgynlais, Powys. He was called to the bar in 1969 and was knighted when he became a High Court judge in 1996. He was awarded a fellowship from the University in 2002.

He will succeed Lord Judge as head of the judiciary of England and Wales.

After his appointment he pledged that judges would help ensure that justice was delivered “fairly and efficiently”.

There has been some controversy surrounding Sir John’s appointment, as some predicted that Lady Justice Hallett would be offered the role after her London bombings inquest, which would have made her the first woman in the role. Lord Justice Leveson was reportedly also in the running after his inquiry into the ethics and practices of the press.

However, Sir John was recommended by the Judicial Appointments Commission to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who then made the recommendation to the prime minister.

Speaking of his appointment, Sir John said it was a “privilege and honour” to take on the job before paying tribute to his predecessor Lord Judge, who he said was “universally admired for his deep commitment to justice, the independence of the judiciary and the outstanding leadership he has given to all judges and magistrates”.

In the role, he will be responsible for leading the judges of England and Wales, as well as playing a key role mediating between the courts and ministers. He will take on about 400 statutory duties which include representing the views of the judiciary to Parliament, the deployment of judges and allocation of work in courts in England and Wales.