UK

Lord Chief Justice: Sir Ian Burnett appointed

Lord Justice Burnett Image copyright PA

Sir Ian Burnett has been appointed as the new Lord Chief Justice, the head of the judiciary in England and Wales.

Downing Street said Lord Justice Burnett would take over on 2 October, following the retirement of Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

Lord Justice Burnett's final case at the bar was as counsel to the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed in 1997.

The 59-year-old lives in Essex with his wife and children.

High-profile inquiries

Lord Justice Burnett acted as junior counsel to the inquiry into the 1987 King's Cross Fire inquiry and to the inquiry into the convictions of the Guildford Four and Maguire family.

He was leading counsel to the inquiry into the 1997 Southall rail crash and into train protection systems following the 1999 Paddington crash.

The Lord Chief Justice is also president of the courts of England and Wales, representing the views of the judiciary to Parliament and the government.

The appointment is made by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister and lord chancellor following the recommendation of an independent selection panel.

Candidates were expected to be able to serve for at least four years, given the need to deliver significant court reforms and to steer the judiciary through Brexit, Downing Street said.