Lord Thomas is latest senior judge to become an arbitrator

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Nov 13, 2017
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Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said it was a pleasure to rejoin Essex Court Chambers, where he was a pupil, junior and silk

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Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd has become the latest former senior judge to join a leading set of chambers as an arbitrator.

Having stood down as lord chief justice of England and Wales on October 1, Lord Thomas is going back to his old chambers, Essex Court Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn. Last week The Brief reported that Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, who retired in July as the president of the Supreme Court, was also setting up as an arbitrator and joining One Essex Court in the Temple. Both sets are among the top commercial chambers at the Bar.

Lord Thomas said: “After 21 years as a judge, it is a pleasure to return to Essex Court Chambers where I was a pupil, a junior and a silk for the preceding 25 years.  Although I rejoin in a different capacity, it is good to be doing so at a time when the whole of legal London must do all it can to build upon and strengthen its position as a pre-eminent centre for all types of legal work and dispute resolution.”

For the last decade or so a growing number of retiring judges have been moving into arbitration. On the same day that Lord Neuberger’s move was announced, it emerged that Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, another recently-retired Supreme Court judge, was moving to 10 Fleet Street, the arbitration wing of Quadrant Chambers in the capital.

David Foxton, QC, head of Essex Court, said Lord Thomas had “made an immense contribution to the development of English law and has a worldwide reputation. He will be much sought-after as an arbitrator in commercial disputes”.

When he was a Commercial Court judge Lord Thomas conducted the inquiry into the 1991 stock market floatation of Mirror Group Newspapers from 2002 until his appointment in 2003 as a Lord Justice of Appeal. 

He was senior presiding judge of England and Wales from 2003 to 2006. In October 2011, he succeeded Sir Anthony May as President of the Queen’s Bench Division and in 2013 appointed to succeed Lord Judge as lord chief justice of England and Wales. 

He was president of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from May 2008 to December 2010 and a founder member of the European Law Institute, where he sits executive committee.

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