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Sir Brian Leveson: “a giant at the Bar and on the Bench”

Photo of judges at the bench

From left, the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane; Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton; Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court; The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon; Sir Brian Leveson; Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos; and Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary David Gauke MP.

Sir Brian Leveson, one of the most senior criminal judges in England and Wales, was hailed by colleagues as a ‘legal giant’ at his valedictory event.

Best-known by the public for chairing the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the Press, Sir Brian retired from his judicial role as President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Head of Criminal Justice on his 70th birthday on Saturday.

Photo of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC MP

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC MP

The day before, his valedictory event was held in a packed courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

In his speech, Sir Brian praised his fellow judges and support staff for all their help over the years, adding: “Many have worked far above and beyond the call of duty to help achieve what has been achieved. My successor (Lady Justice Victoria Sharp), who has supported me so unstintingly, will have a great team.

“I will look on with great interest to see what the future has in store. I wish you well – the future is in your hands.”

Tributes were paid to Sir Brian in speeches by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon; Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC MP; Chair of the Bar Richard Atkins QC; and the president-elect of the Law Society Simon Davis.

Addressing the court, Richard Atkins said in his speech: “Sir Brian was a giant at the Bar and has been a giant on the Bench.

Photo of Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar, standing, and Simon Davis, President-Elect of the Law Society, seated.

Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar, standing, and Simon Davis, President-Elect of the Law Society, seated.

“He will be a very hard act to follow, although I suspect that Lady Justice Sharp will bring her own inimitable style to the job.”

All the speeches can be read below:

Sir Brian Leveson’s valedictory speech, June 2019

Speech by the Lord Chief Justice

Speech by the Attorney Geoffrey Cox QC MP

Speech by Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar

Speech by the President-Elect of the Law Society

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