|Lord Chief Justice|
of England and Wales
The Judiciary of England and Wales
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Nominator||Judicial Appointments Commission|
|Appointer|| Monarch of the United Kingdom,|
on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor
|Formation||1 November 1875|
|This article is part of the series: Courts of England and Wales|
|Law of England and Wales|
The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales and the President of the Courts of England and Wales.
Historically, the officeholder was the second-highest judge of the Courts of England and Wales, after the Lord Chancellor, but became the top judge as a result of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which removed the judicial functions from the office of Lord Chancellor, altered the duties of the Lord Chief Justice and changed the relationship between the two offices. The Lord Chief Justice ordinarily serves as President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal and Head of Criminal Justice, but under the 2005 Act can appoint another judge to these positions.
The Lord Chief Justice's equivalent in Scotland is the Lord President of the Court of Session, who also holds the post of Lord Justice-General in the High Court of Justiciary. There is also a Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, successor to the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland of the pre-Partition era. For the entire United Kingdom judiciary, there is a President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, though that court does not have final jurisdiction over Scottish criminal law.
The current Lord Chief Justice is Lord Burnett of Maldon, who assumed the role on 2 October 2017.
Originally, each of the three high common law courts, the King's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court of the Exchequer, had its own chief justice: the Lord Chief Justice, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The Court of the King's (or Queen's) Bench had existed since 1234. In 1268 its foremost judge was given the title of (lord) chief justice before when one of the justices would be considered the senior judge, and fulfil an analogous role. The three courts became divisions of the High Court in 1875, and following the deaths of the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chief Baron in 1880, the three were merged into a single division (first held by the last Chief Justice of Common Pleas) creating a single Lord Chief Justice of England.
The suffix "and Wales", now found in statutes and elsewhere, was unilaterally appended by holder Lord Bingham of Cornhill between 1996 and 2000.
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA) made the Lord Chief Justice the president of the Courts of England and Wales, vesting the office with many of the powers formerly held by the Lord Chancellor. While the Lord Chief Justice retains the role of President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, the CRA separated the role of President of the Queen's Bench Division; the changed chief justice role was first held by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers. The CRA provides that he or she is chosen by a specially appointed committee convened by the Judicial Appointments Commission.
|Portrait||Lord Chief Justice||From||Until||Notes|
|William de Raley||1234||1239|
|Sir Stephen de Segrave||1239||1241|
|William of York||1241||1247|
|Henry of Bath||1249||1251|
|Sir Gilbert of Seagrave||1251||1253|
|Henry of Bath||1253||1260|
|Sir William of Wilton||1261||1263|
|Nicholas de Turri||1265||1267|
|Sir Robert de Briwes||1268||6 November 1269|
|Richard of Staines||6 November 1269||1273|
|Martin of Littlebury||1273||1274|
|Ralph de Hengham||1274||1290|
|Gilbert de Thornton||1290||1296|
|Sir Roger Brabazon||1296||March 1316|
|Sir William Inge||March 1316||15 June 1317|
|Sir Henry le Scrope||15 June 1317||September 1323|
|Hervey de Stanton||September 1323||21 March 1324|
|Sir Geoffrey le Scrope||21 March 1324||1 May 1329|
|Sir Robert de Malberthorp||1 May 1329||28 October 1329|
|Sir Henry le Scrope||28 October 1329||19 December 1330|
|Sir Geoffrey le Scrope||19 December 1330||28 March 1332|
|Sir Richard de Willoughby||28 March 1332||20 September 1332|
|Sir Geoffrey le Scrope||20 September 1332||10 September 1333|
|Sir Richard de Willoughby||10 September 1333||1337|
|Sir Geoffrey le Scrope||1337||October 1338|
|Sir Richard de Willoughby||October 1338||21 July 1340|
|Sir Robert Parning||21 July 1340||8 January 1341|
|Sir William Scott||8 January 1341||26 November 1346|
|Sir William de Thorpe||26 November 1346||26 October 1350|
|Sir William de Shareshull||26 October 1350||24 May 1361|
|Sir Henry Green||24 May 1361||29 October 1365|
|Sir John Knyvet||29 October 1365||15 July 1372|
|Sir John de Cavendish||15 July 1372||14 June 1381||murdered in the Peasants' Revolt|
|Sir Robert Tresilian||22 June 1381||17 November 1387|
|Sir Walter Clopton||31 January 1388||21 October 1400|
|Sir William Gascoigne||15 November 1400||29 March 1413|
|Sir William Hankford||29 March 1413||12 December 1423|
|Sir William Cheyne||21 January 1424||20 January 1439|
|Sir John Juyn||20 January 1439||24 March 1440|
|Sir John Hody||13 April 1440||25 January 1442|
|Sir John Fortescue||25 January 1442||13 May 1461|
|Sir John Markham||13 May 1461||23 January 1469|
|Sir Thomas Billing||23 January 1469||5 May 1481|
|Sir William Hussey||7 May 1481||8 September 1495|
|Sir John Fineux||24 November 1495||23 January 1526|
|Sir John FitzJames||23 January 1526||21 January 1539|
|Sir Edward Montagu||21 January 1539||9 November 1545|
|Sir Richard Lyster||9 November 1545||21 March 1552|
|Sir Roger Cholmeley||21 March 1552||4 October 1553|
|Sir Thomas Bromley||4 October 1553||11 June 1555|
|Sir William Portman||11 June 1555||8 May 1557|
|Sir Edward Saunders||8 May 1557||22 January 1559|
|Sir Robert Catlyn||22 January 1559||8 November 1574|
|Sir Christopher Wray||8 November 1574||2 June 1592|
|Sir John Popham||2 June 1592||25 June 1607|
|Sir Thomas Fleming||25 June 1607||25 October 1613|
|Sir Edward Coke||25 October 1613||16 November 1616|
|Sir Henry Montagu||16 November 1616||29 January 1621|
|Sir James Ley||29 January 1621||26 January 1625|
|Sir Ranulph Crewe||26 January 1625||5 February 1627|
|Sir Nicholas Hyde||5 February 1627||24 October 1631|
|Sir Thomas Richardson||24 October 1631||4 February 1635†||Died in office|
|Sir John Bramston||14 April 1635||31 October 1642|
|Sir Robert Heath||31 October 1642||October 1645|
|Sir Henry Rolle||12 October 1648||15 June 1655|
|John Glynne||15 June 1655||17 January 1660||Knighted in 1660|
|Sir Richard Newdigate||17 January 1660||1 October 1660|
|Sir Robert Foster||21 October 1660||4 October 1663†||First Chief Justice after the Restoration; died in office|
|Sir Robert Hyde||19 October 1663||1 May 1665†||Died in office|
|Sir John Kelynge||21 November 1665||9 May 1671†||Died in office|
|Sir Matthew Hale||18 May 1671||20 February 1676||Formerly Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer 1660–1671|
|Sir Richard Raynsford||12 April 1676||31 May 1678|
|Sir William Scroggs||31 May 1678||11 April 1681|
|Sir Francis Pemberton||11 April 1681||1682||Later Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1683|
|Sir Edmund Saunders||23 January 1683||19 June 1683||Died in office|
|Sir George Jeffreys |
(Lord Jeffreys from 1685)
|28 September 1683||23 October 1685||Lord Chancellor 1685–1688|
|Sir Edward Herbert||23 October 1685||22 April 1687||Later Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1687–1689|
|Sir Robert Wright||22 April 1687||17 April 1689||Briefly Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in April 1687|
|Sir John Holt||17 April 1689||5 March 1710†||Died in office|
|Sir Thomas Parker |
(Lord Parker from 1714)
|11 March 1710||15 May 1718||Regent of Great Britain from 1 August to 18 September 1714; later Lord Chancellor 1718–1725, created Earl of Macclesfield in 1721; impeached for corruption in 1725|
|Sir John Pratt||15 May 1718||24 February 1725||Interim Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1721|
|Sir Robert Raymond |
(Lord Raymond from 1731)
|2 March 1725||31 October 1733†||Previously Attorney General 1720–1724; died in office|
|Lord Hardwicke||31 October 1733||8 June 1737||Previously Attorney General 1724–1733; later Lord Chancellor 1737–1756 and created Earl of Hardwicke in 1754|
|Sir William Lee||8 June 1737||8 April 1754†||Interim Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1754; died in office|
|Sir Dudley Ryder||2 May 1754||25 May 1756†||Previously Attorney General 1737–1754; died in office|
| Lord Mansfield |
(Earl of Mansfield from 1776)
|8 November 1756||4 June 1788||Previously Attorney General 1754–1756; Lord Speaker in 1783|
|Lord Kenyon||4 June 1788||4 April 1802†||Previously Attorney General 1782–1783 1783–1784 and Master of the Rolls 1784–1788; died in office|
|Lord Ellenborough||11 April 1802||2 November 1818||Previously Attorney General 1801–1802; interim Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1806|
|Sir Charles Abbott |
(Lord Tenterden from 1827)
|2 November 1818||4 November 1832†||Interim Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1827; died in office|
|Sir Thomas Denman |
(Lord Denman from 1834)
|4 November 1832||5 March 1850||Previously Attorney General 1830–1832; interim Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1834|
|Lord Campbell||5 March 1850||24 June 1859||Previously Attorney General 1834 and 1835–1841; briefly Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1841; later Lord Chancellor 1859–1861|
|Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt||24 June 1859||1 November 1875||Previously Attorney General 1851–1852 1852–1856 and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1856–1859.|
|Portrait||Lord Chief Justice||From||Until||Notes|
|Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt||1 November 1875||20 November 1880†||Died in office|
|Lord Coleridge||29 November 1880||14 June 1894†||Previously Attorney General 1871–1873 and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1873–1880; died in office|
|Lord Russell of Killowen||11 July 1894||10 August 1900†||Previously Attorney General 1886 1892–1894; first Catholic Lord Chief Justice; died in office|
|Lord Alverstone||24 October 1900||21 October 1913||Previously Attorney-General 1885–1886 1886–1892 1895–1900 and Master of the Rolls in 1900; in retirement, created Viscount Alverstone in 1913|
|Sir Rufus Isaacs |
(Lord Reading from 1914,
Viscount Reading from 1916,
Earl of Reading from 1917)
|21 October 1913||8 March 1921||Previously Attorney General 1910–1913; later Viceroy of India 1921–1925 and created Marquess of Reading in 1926; first Jewish Lord Chief Justice|
|Sir Alfred Lawrence |
(Lord Trevethin from August 1921)
|15 April 1921||2 March 1922|
|Lord Hewart||8 March 1922||12 October 1940||Previously Attorney General 1919–1922; in retirement, created Viscount Hewart in 1940|
|Viscount Caldecote||14 October 1940||23 January 1946||Previously Attorney General 1928–1929 and 1932–1936 and Lord Chancellor 1939–1940|
|Lord Goddard||23 January 1946||29 September 1958||Previously a law lord from 1944|
|Lord Parker of Waddington||29 September 1958||20 April 1971|
|Lord Widgery||20 April 1971||15 April 1980|
|Lord Lane||15 April 1980||27 April 1992||Previously a law lord from 1979|
|Lord Taylor of Gosforth||27 April 1992||4 June 1996|
|Lord Bingham of Cornhill||4 June 1996||6 June 2000||First Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; Master of the Rolls 1992–1996; Senior Law Lord 2000–2008;|
|Lord Woolf||6 June 2000||30 September 2005||Previously a law lord from 1992; Master of the Rolls from 1996–2000|
|Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers||30 September 2005||1 October 2008||Previously a law lord from 1999; Master of the Rolls 2000–2005; later Senior Law Lord 2008–2009 and President of the Supreme Court 2009–2012|
|Lord Judge||1 October 2008||30 September 2013||Previously Deputy Chief Justice of England and Wales 2003–2005|
|Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd||1 October 2013||1 October 2017|
|Lord Burnett of Maldon||2 October 2017||Incumbent|
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