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Alumnus Sir Ian Burnett appointed new Lord Chief Justice

17th July 2017

We are delighted to report that Pembroke alumnus Sir Ian Burnett (1976, Jurisprudence) has been appointed to the most senior juridical position in England and Wales: Lord Chief Justice.

Downing Street has announced that he will assume this role from October 2017. Her Majesty the Queen has made this appointment on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor, following the recommendation of an independent selection panel that was chaired by Lord Kakkar, Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Lord Justice Burnett studied at Pembroke College, Oxford prior to practising as a barrister. He was a pupil of Temple Garden Chambers, where he practised until May 2008, and from 2003 as Head of Chambers. He was junior counsel for the Crown, Common Law from 1992 and was appointed as a Queens Counsel in 1998. As a Recorder in 2000, he sat as a part-time judge in the Crown Court trying criminal cases.

Lord Justice Burnett specialised in common law, personal injury and health and safety regulations. He has worked on numerous high-profile cases, acting as junior counsel to the King’s Cross fire inquiry and also on the inquiry into the convictions of the Guildford Four and Maguire Family.

Following the Paddington train crash, he was leading counsel to the inquiry into the crash and train protection systems. The inquests into the death of Diana Prince of Wales and Dodi Fayed was his last case at the bar, for which he acted as counsel. Particularly in the years following 9/11, he was involved in many judicial review and public law cases concerning the government’s response to the risk of terrorist attack.

In 2008 he became High Court Judge and was later promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2014, with responsibility for extradition cases. Between November 2015 and March 2017 he was vice-chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, before stepping down to apply for his most recent appointment. He was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College in 2008.