In his valedictory address to celebrate Lord Judge’s retirement
four years ago, the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, described him as ‘one of our greatest chief justices’. As Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge had to deal with many controversial issues, not least proposed cuts to judges’ pensions. In the press coverage of his retirement, he was praised for living up to the judges’ oath by interpreting the law ‘without fear or favour, affection or ill-will’. Igor Judge was born in Malta and studied history and law at Magdalene College, Cambridge before being called to the bar in 1963 and made a QC in 1979. He held various judicial appointments before becoming Lord Chief Justice in 2008.
Lord Dyson said that, as Lord Judge would be sitting in the House of Lords after his retirement, his speeches would be much anticipated as ‘he is an all-rounder who has bags of common sense, and not one of those specialists whose feet are not always on the ground and who produce sometimes over-long, over-complicated and even, dare I say it, incomprehensible judgments’.
In this year’s Bingham Lecture
(see page 3
), Lord Judge was clearly fulfilling the potential Lord Dyson saw in the former senior judge to make important contributions on the issues of the day. His warnings on the failures of the legislative process need to be heeded because of the threat they pose to the rule of law. Also, people cannot be expected to defend principles they do not understand. Lord Judge has an important role to play in explaining the subtleties of the UK’s unwritten constitution to his fellow parliamentarians and the wider public.