Lord Taylor, who is 66, will continue to carry out his administrative duties until his successor is appointed, Downing Street said. The judge has known about his illness since last Easter. A spokesman refused to discuss the precise nature of his condition.
News of his enforced retirement will be met with regret throughout the justice system. For his family, the news is a double tragedy. His wife, Irene, died of cancer last year.
John Major said in a statement: "Peter Taylor has been a most distinguished Lord Chief Justice. I am deeply sad that his period in office should have had to end early as a result of illness. I send my very best wishes to him and his family."
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