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UK legal system: Lord Neuberger named President of the Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury has been named as the next President of the UK Supreme Court, to become the head of the highest appellate court in the country.

Lord Neuberger will succeed Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers in the autumn, being sworn in at a special ceremony on 1 October, the day after his predecessor leaves office.

Lord Phillips was the first ever President of the Supreme Court taking up the post in October 2008 after its creation in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Those reforms also led to the removal of judicial functions from the office of the Lord Chancellor, who was previously head of the judiciary. That role now vests in the Lord Chief Justice, currently Lord Judge.

Lord Neuberger will be promoted from his current post as the Master of the Rolls, effectively the second most senior judge in England and Wales after the Lord Chief Justice.

Speaking after his appointment was announced, he said: "It is a great honour to have been given the opportunity to serve as the President of the UK Supreme
Court and to work with the eleven other distinguished members of the Court. The UK Supreme Court, like its predecessor, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, is rightly respected throughout the world."

The role of President of the Supreme Court confers many responsibilities, not least as the senior judge in many of the court's key cases. The Supreme Court hears appeals from the Courts of Appeal and also from the Privy Council, which is the final court of appeal for many Commonwealth countries.

In addition to the judicial role, the President fulfils ambassadorial responsibilities for the judiciary, and acts as a leader for other justices. He will oversee the administration of the Supreme Court, and in that regard will liaise directly with the Lord Chancellor, Ken Clarke.

Speaking after the announcement, the incumbent Lord Philips described mixed feelings about passing on the role, but was full of praise for his eventual successor.

"Identifying a successor... was inevitably a task I approached with mixed feelings - a degree of pride... but also an element of sadness in leaving that same organisation," he said.

"In Lord Neuberger I know we have an extremely talented new President, who brings not only a wealth of judicial experience but the ability to lead a collegiate court. I wish him all the very best and I only hope that he enjoys this very special honour as much as I have," he added.

Sources:

Lord Neuberger appointed next President of the Supreme Court (Family Law Week)

Q&A: UK Supreme Court (BBC News)