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THE LEGAL profession has said farewell to a veritable Who's Who of distinguished judges.
From Friday judges over 75 were no longer allowed to sit. The result was that a number of top judicial figures from the past who have returned to the bench in their retirement must hang up their wigs for good.
Among them is Sir Tasker Watkins, 76, Sir Mervyn Davies, 77, and former Lord Chief Justice Lord Lane, 76, who has sat as a Law Lord in the Privy Council.
The new rules, introduced under the 1993 Judicial Pensions and Retirements Act, were passed in the face of opposition from judges.
One of those was Sir Peter Pain who, at 81, has regularly sat at the High Court since retiring.
He says: "I am perfectly willing to carry on and I feel full of energy. As far as I know I am perfectly competent - of course one can never be sure and you will have to ask other people - and it seems to me to be just plain silly to cut us off like this."
Lord Denning, 96, who sat as Master of the Rolls until he was 85 says: "I gave some of my best judgments in my later years on the bench."