President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
|President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom|
The Lord Reed of Allermuir
since 13 January 2020
|Supreme Court of the United Kingdom|
|Style||The Right Honourable|
(when addressed in court)
|Seat||Middlesex Guildhall, London|
|Appointer||The Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister|
following the Secretary of State for Justice's approval of a recommendation
|Term length||Life tenure (with a mandatory retirement age[fn 1]); may be removed by Parliament|
|Constituting instrument||Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23(5)|
|Precursor||Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary|
|Formation||1 October 2009|
|First holder||Lord Reid|
as Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
as President of the Supreme Court (1 October 2009)
|Deputy||Deputy President of the Supreme Court|
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The President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is equivalent to the now-defunct position of Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, also known as the Senior Law Lord, who was the highest ranking among the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (the judges who exercised the judicial functions of the House of Lords). The President is not the most senior judge of the judiciary in England and Wales; that position belongs to the Lord Chief Justice. The current President is Robert Reed, since 13 January 2020.
From 1900 to 1969, when the Lord Chancellor was not present, a former Lord Chancellor would preside at judicial sittings of the House of Lords. If no former Lord Chancellor was present, the most senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary present would preside, seniority being determined by rank in the peerage. In the years following World War II, it became less common for Lord Chancellors to have time to gain judicial experience in office, making it anomalous for former holders of the office to take precedence. As a result, on 22 May 1969, the rules were changed such that if the Lord Chancellor was not present (as was normally the case), the most senior Law Lord, by appointment as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary rather than peerage, would preside.
In 1984, the system was amended to provide that judges be appointed as Senior and Second Senior Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, rather than taking the roles by seniority. The purpose of the change was to allow an ailing Lord Diplock to step aside from presiding, yet remain a Law Lord.
On 1 October 2009, the judicial functions of the House of Lords were transferred to the new Supreme Court under the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Senior Law Lord, Nick Phillips, and the Second Senior Law Lord became, respectively, the President and the Deputy President of the new court. The same day, the Queen by warrant established a place for the President of the Supreme Court in the order of precedence, immediately after the Lord Speaker (the Speaker of the House of Lords).
List of Senior Lords of Appeal in Ordinary
- The Lord Reid (1969–1975)
- The Lord Wilberforce (1975–1982)
- The Lord Diplock (1982–1984)
- The Lord Fraser of Tullybelton (1984–1985)
- The Lord Scarman (1985–1986)
- The Lord Keith of Kinkel (1986–1996)
- The Lord Goff of Chieveley (1996–1998)
- The Lord Browne-Wilkinson (1998–2000)
- The Lord Bingham of Cornhill (2000–2008)
- The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (2008 – 30 September 2009)
List of presidents of the Supreme Court
- Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
- Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
- Senior President of Tribunals
- Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
- Lord President of the Court of Session
- The mandatory retirement age for judicial offices —including the judges of the Supreme Court— is 70, as introduced in the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. However, that only applies to judges first appointed to a judicial office after the commencement of the relevant provisions of that Act (31 March 1995). Judges who were appointed before (and have served continuously since) that date have the same mandatory retirement age as was applicable in their office before the Act, which is 75.
- "Judicial Appointments - Constitution Committee". parliament.uk. House of Lords. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Information Pack – Vacancy for President of The Supreme Court of The United Kingdom" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- Constitutional Reform Act 2005 c 4 s 33
- "Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c. 4), Part 3, Section 23". The National Archives (United Kingdom). 24 March 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- "Biographies of the Justices". The Supreme Court. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
- House of Lords Debates 22 May 1969 c 468–71.
- House of Lords Debates 27 June 1984 c 914–18
- "Obituary: Lord Keith of Kinkel". The Scotsman. 28 June 2002. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "No. 54543". The London Gazette. 4 October 2011. p. 13211.