After spending a very enjoyable 15 years running the litigation department of a very typical High Street legal aid firm of solicitors, I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself appointed in April 1994 as a full-time District Judge trying both civil and family (but not criminal) cases. One thing led to another and by 2000 I had become the Honorary Secretary of The Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges (“the ADJ”). I held that position until 2011; it helped develop in me what has become a passion for the effective and efficient administration and delivery of justice.
In July 2002, during my time as Hon. Secretary of the ADJ, I became, and still am, a member of the Judges’ Council for England and Wales. For the last ten years I have been an active participant in the affairs of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (“the ENCJ”) which aims to improve cooperation between, and good mutual understanding amongst, the Councils for the Judiciary and the members of the judiciary of both EU member, and candidate member, states. Most recently I have been involved with the ENCJ in the writing of two reports on the Independence and Accountability of the Judiciary; my ENCJ work in 2015-16 will involve my working on a project looking at the funding of courts.
September 2007 saw the start of my continuing full-time secondment to the Office of the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales. That brought with it, in April 2008, my appointment to the Board of Her Majesty’s Courts Service (“HMCS”) which provided the administrative support for the courts in England and Wales. My directorship continued after April 2011 when I became a judicial director of what is now HM Courts and Tribunals Service (“HMCTS”), a merger of HMCS and the Tribunals Service.
Since 2007 I have split my time between working alongside HMCTS and working with the Senior Presiding Judge who is responsible to the Lord Chief Justice for the performance of our judiciary other than at the Royal Courts of Justice. As for HMCS (now HMCTS), I helped to develop in 2008 what is a new and wholly unique partnership between the Lord Chancellor (the Minister for Justice) and the Lord Chief Justice in relation to the effective governance, financing and operation of HMCTS and have been considerably involved in its operation for the seven years since its creation. 2008 also of course saw the start of the international financial crisis; being a director of HMCS / HMCTS ever since then has brought more than its share of “challenges”. At the moment HMCTS has embarked upon a once-in-a-generation programme of reform looking at the three issues of the modernisation of its information technology, the improvement of the court and tribunal estate and, thirdly, a transformational change in the working practices of both the judiciary and HMCTS staff.
In January 2007 I was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List. In October 2014 I was elected an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn.