The promotion of four judges to the Court of Appeal has whipped up a storm in the Chancery Division, with three of the appointments coming from the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) and one from the Family Division, but none from Chancery.
The move underlines the growing influence of the QBD, considered some years ago to be somewhat inferior to the Chancery Division in terms of quality of judges.
The new Lord Chief Jus-tice Lord Phillips and the new Master of the Rolls Lord Clar-ke both hail from the QBD.
“It’s a good day for commercial lawyers and a dark one for the Chancery,” said one disgruntled barrister, echoing many other comments.
Former Bar Council chair Mrs Justice (Dame Heather) Hallett becomes the third female judge at the Court of Appeal after Lady Justice Smith and Lady Justice Arden. She has achieved promotion quickly after spending just six years on the bench. Generally, Appeal judges have served for more than 10 years.
Mr Justice (Sir Alan) Moses has also been promoted. He was responsible for the investigation into Judge Seymour, the controversial Technology and Construction Court judge, which resulted in Seymour being shunted out of the court. Moses J has been a judge since 1996.
Mr Justice (Sir Stephen) Richards, who became a QBD judge in 1997, and Mr Justice (Sir Nicholas) Wilson, who became a Family Division judge in 1993, are the other new Appeal Court judges.
In addition to the promotions, Lord Justice Mance has been named a Law Lord.