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International Chief Justices visit London for Opening of the Legal Year


Photo of Judges from Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle EastJudges from Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East were special guests at the event marking the Opening of the Legal Year for England and Wales.

On Tuesday (1 October), the international delegation joined hundreds of the most senior judiciary of England and Wales to enjoy the service in Westminster Abbey, followed by the Lord Chancellor’s breakfast in the Great Hall in the Houses of Parliament.

They later toured the Rolls Building, the largest specialised centre for the resolution of financial, business and property litigation in the world, and met Mr Justice Knowles, Sir William Blair, Her Honour Judge Rachel Karp and Tribunal Judge Judith Gleeson.

Photo ofRoyal Courts of Justice and met Lord Justice Gross, other judges and representativesOn Wednesday (2 October), they toured the Royal Courts of Justice and met Lord Justice Gross, other judges and representatives from a variety of external interested parties who work closely with the Judiciary on international engagement. These included the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, the International Law Book Facility, ROLE UK, African Prisons Project and the Slynn Foundation.

Each visiting judge met with the Lord Chief Justice; thereafter, a reception and dinner was held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The visiting delegation comprised:

  • Chief Justice Zidan, Iraq

Chief Justice Zidan was in London in both 2017 and 2018 for the previous Opening of the Legal Year ceremonies. Engagement with Iraq has gone from strength to strength since the first judicial visit to Iraq in 2018. The timing of this Opening of the Legal Year coincides with training being delivered in Iraq by our Judicial College through HHJ Andrew Hatton.

  • Chief Justice Hassan Jallow, the Gambia

CJ Jallow last visited London in late 2017, soon after his appointment following the end of the 22-year Jammeh regime. As a result of that visit, a strategic course of engagement has ensued, regarded as of the highest importance to the Gambian judiciary, attracting praise from the High Commissioner on various public platforms.

  • Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe, Uganda

Photo of • Chief Justice Zidan of Iraq , Chief Justice Hassan Jallow of Gambia, Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe of Uganda, The Honourable Mr Justice Bryan Sykes OJ CD of Jamaica, Chief Justice David Maraga of Kenya, justice Fernando Franco Gonzalez-Salas of MexicoChief Justice Katureebe has been Chief Justice of Uganda since 2015. In the last 12 months we have received two significant Ugandan visits, one from their Sentencing Commission and one from their Judicial Services Commission.

  • The Honourable Mr Justice Bryan Sykes OJ CD, Jamaica

Mr Justice Sykes had been invited by the Supreme Court as one of the jurisdictions that sends cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jamaica on February 1, 2018 and was sworn in on March 1.

  • Chief Justice David Maraga, Kenya

Chief Justice Maraga was last in London in May this year for what was regarded as a highly successful FCO supported visit. Following this visit a plan for future engagement has been established in partnership with the FCO to include a visit from their Judicial Training Institute.

  • Justice Fernando Franco Gonzalez-Salas, Mexico

Justice Salas is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Mexico. He was attending the Opening of the Legal Year for the second year running. Lord Hughes and Mrs Justice McGowan attended Mexico earlier this year.

Photo of Lord Justice Gross, lead judge for International RelationsSpeaking during the visit, Lord Justice Gross, lead judge for International Relations, said: “It is a real pleasure and an honour to host such esteemed guests. The Opening of the Legal Year matters to us a great deal and we are delighted to have them here to share this tradition.”

The Judicial Office International Team would like to take this opportunity to thank Lord Justice Gross for his service in the role of lead judge for International Relations. He has overseen the development of many important relationships across the world and we wish him the best in his new endeavours.


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