LORD Woolf is standing down from the presidency of the Expert Witness Institute (EWI) a year after controversially agreeing to take up the post.
The Master of the Rolls was the inaugural president of the institute, which was set up in November with the help of the expert witness training company Bond Solon.
His appointment sparked a whispering campaign against him because of the institute's close links to Bond Solon, which trains institute members.
Critics believed that it was inappropriate for a senior judge to be so closely associated with an enterprise which stood to benefit a private company.
His appointment also angered the institute's more established rivals, including the 10-year-old Academy of Experts.
Now Lord Woolf has agreed to become a patron of both bodies. The two groups announced the move in a joint statement welcoming Lord Woolf's “continuing encouragement and support” for their work.
The statement added that the organisations had agreed to set up a small liaison group.
The chairman of the Expert Witness Institute, the retired High Court judge Sir Michael Davies, insisted there had never been a dispute between the two groups over Lord Woolf's role and said that it would be “mischief-making” to suggest otherwise.
He added that he and Lord Woolf had always agreed that his term as president should be a relatively short one.
Michael Cohen, chairman of the Academy of Experts, said the title of patron was designed to show that Lord Woolf played no part in the running of the organisation.