Leveson Inquiry will be shelved or re-assigned if Sir Brian Leveson is appointed Lord Chief Justice
Lord Justice Leveson is already being described as 'a strong candidate' for the role by some leading judges and barristers.
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Tuesday 27 November 2012
The Leveson Inquiry’s examination of the “unlawful practices within News International and other newspapers” will be shelved or re-assigned to another senior judge if Sir Brian Leveson is appointed Lord Chief Justice next year, senior judicial sources have told The Independent.
Lord Justice Leveson, an appeal court judge and currently head of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, is understood to have told senior judicial colleagues that he intends to apply for the job as head of the judiciary when it is formally advertised later this year or early next year.
He is already being described as “a strong candidate” by some leading judges and barristers.
The Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, will head the process of selecting the successor to Lord Judge. A panel will be formed that comprises the president of the Supreme Court, the chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, a lay member of the JAC, and the current Lord Chief Justice.
However before there is a final confirmation of who gets the top job, the decision will have to be approved by David Cameron and the Queen, as head of state.
It is expected that if Sir Brian gets the job, he will be informed in April next year and will formally take over from Lord Judge when the new legal year begins on October 1.
Part I of the inquiry’s findings will be delivered this Thursday. It will be down to the Prime Minister and ultimately Parliament if the inquiry’s recommendations become law.
If the Leveson Report recommends a tough statutory role for press regulation, Mr Cameron may find it difficult to fully back the report and keep all of his party onside.
Part II of the press inquiry, described by Lord Justice Leveson as the "who-did-what-to-whom” section, is still scheduled to take part after all criminal proceedings relating to phone hacking and bribery charges have concluded.
However with the criminal process likely to last well into 2014, it would not be possible for Sir Brian to hold the post of Lord Chief Justice and devote time to Part II of the Leveson Inquiry.
A decision by Downing Street would then need to be taken to ask Sir Brian to nominate another judge to take over his own inquiry. However senior judicial sources have told The Independent that this would be regarded as “highly unusual circumstances” with the more likely option being a decision by Downing Street to state that the criminal courts process had effectively removed the need for Leveson II.
The competition to get the job as the top judge is expected to be fierce. Following changes to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which removed some of the judicial power of the Lord Chancellor, the role of Lord Chief Justice has widened.
Other candidates likely to be in the running include Sir Brian’s court of appeal colleague, Lady Justice Hallet; the vice president of the criminal division, Lord Justice Hughes; and the Queen’s Bench Division president, Lord Justice Thomas.
The leading media barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, told the Legalweek website: “Lord Judge’s successor needs to be someone who can provide leadership for the whole judiciary and is able to serve at least five years. Now that the retirement age has been reduced to 70, the pool of candidates has been reduced. “
Sir Brian will be 64 next year.
- 1 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 2 It won’t work, Jeremy: The Health Secretary has lost the confidence of the medical profession in his attempt to reform the NHS
- 3 Kim Jong-un awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
Nasa discovers yet another rocky exoplanet, and it's only 21 light years away
Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
Kim Jong-un awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Calais crisis: Migrants that have made it to the UK reveal how Britain has matched their expectations
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...