The Hon Mr Justice Fancourt, Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster
Mr Justice Fancourt began his judicial career in 2009 when he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court. He sat regularly in the Crown Court until 2018. Having been appointed a Deputy High Court Judge of the Chancery Division in 2013 he was then appointed a High Court Judge to sit in the Chancery Division in 2018. He served as President of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) from August 2019 to August 2022 and was then appointed Vice-Chancellor in September 2021, in succession to Mr Justice Snowden. As such, he is the supervising judge for the Business and Property Courts on the Northern and North-Eastern Circuits. He published Enforceability of Landlord and Tenant Covenants (3rd ed. 2014) and is the general editor of Muir Watt and Moss, Agricultural Holdings (15th ed).
HHJ David Hodge KC
His Honour Judge David Hodge KC was appointed as a Specialist Civil Senior Circuit Judge in November 2005.
His principal court is the Manchester Civil Justice Centre although HHJ Hodge KC also sits in Liverpool and at the Rolls Building in London. He is authorised to hear cases in the Chancery Lists, the Circuit Commercial Court, and the Technology and Construction Court. He is also authorised to sit in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and the Court of Protection.
HHJ Hodge KC was educated at a local state secondary school (St Margaret’s) in Liverpool, where he grew up. He studied at University College, Oxford where he took a first class degree in Jurisprudence and was awarded the post-graduate degree of Bachelor of Civil Law.
He was called to the Bar in 1979 and was one of only four in his year to receive a first class in the Bar Finals. He practised at the Chancery and Commercial Bars from chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, London (9 Old Square and then Maitland Chambers) between 1980 and his appointment to the Bench in 2005, specialising in the fields of property and professional liability.
He was appointed a QC (now KC) in 1997 and sat in crime as a fee-paid Assistant Recorder and Recorder (from 1998) and also as a Deputy High Court Judge of the Chancery Division (from 2004) until his appointment as a full-time, salaried judge in 2005. HHJ Hodge KC was elected a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 2000 and he served as Joint Chair of its Students Activities Committee from 2008 to 2014. He has been a lead advocacy tutor and tutor trainer for Lincoln’s Inn since 1996. He has served as a member of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting since 2010 and of the Legal Advisory Commission of the General Synod since 2016. HHJ Hodge KC has acted as a Judicial College course tutor on the specialist jurisdictions course since 2010 and he served as its joint course director between 2019 and 2021.
HHJ Hodge KC is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Blackburn and Oxford and in 2022 he served as the Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Ely to determine the unsuccessful petition to remove a contested memorial from the Grade I listed chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. He has served on the Committee of the Council of HM Circuit Judges since 2007 and has acted as the Secretary and then the Chair of its Civil Sub-Committee. He is currently the Senior Vice-President of the Council.
In 2010 he published ‘Hodge on Rectification’ which is now in its 2nd edition (2015).
HHJ Stephen Davies
After attending local state schools in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, reading law at Downing College, Cambridge, being called to the Bar in 1985 and undertaking pupillage in specialist civil and commercial chambers in London and with HH Brendan Hegarty QC in Manchester, His Honour Judge Stephen Davies practised as a barrister in business and property litigation from chambers in Manchester (601 Royal Exchange, becoming 8 King Street) from 1986 until 2007.
He became a Crown Court Recorder in 2002. He was appointed a Deputy Judge of the Technology and Construction Court in 2006. He was appointed a full time Circuit Judge in 2007, sitting initially in the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and then transferring to Manchester as a Specialist Circuit Judge in October 2007 when the Manchester Civil Justice Centre opened.
He sits in Manchester undertaking business and property court work as a permanent Technology and Construction judge, in the Mercantile (now Circuit Commercial) Court and in the Chancery Division. He also sits in Manchester in the King’s Bench Division, the Administrative Court, the Planning Court and in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Tribunal).
His Honour Judge (Richard) Pearce was called to the Bar in 1985. He practised in the sphere of common law. He was appointed a Recorder in 2005 and a full-time civil Circuit Judge in 2015, sitting initially in Chester and Liverpool and more recently in Manchester.
Richard is the Judge in charge of the Circuit Commercial Court in Manchester and also sits in the Technology and Construction Court and the Chancery Division, as well as in the County Court, the King’s Bench Division, the Administrative Court and the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
He is a frequent speaker at events organised by the British Irish Commercial Bar Association. He has been involved in the Court Reform programme, including work on online court processes.
HHJ (Mark) Halliwell was called to the Bar in 1985 and practised as a barrister from chambers in Manchester from 1986 until 2018 specialising in chancery and commercial law. He was appointed counsel to the Attorney General on charitable trusts in Manchester and is the author of “Distribution on Intestacy”.
In 2002, he was appointed to sit as a Recorder of the Crown Court. In June 2018, he was appointed to sit as a specialist judge of the Business and Property Courts of the High Court, in Manchester, and is authorised to sit as a judge of the Circuit Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Technology and Construction Court.
He also sits as a Judge of the King’s Bench Division and the Administrative Court, County Court and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
HHJ Cawson KC
His Honour Judge (Mark) Cawson KC was called to the Bar in 1982. He practiced from Chambers in Manchester and London until 2020, taking Silk in 2001.
His practice encompassed a broad range of Chancery and commercial work, with an emphasis on company and insolvency, professional negligence, commercial property and contract disputes. He was also an accredited mediator.
He was Junior of the Northern Circuit in 1987, Chair of the Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association between 2008 and 2013, and Chair of the Northern Chancery Bar Association between 2013 and 2020.
He was appointed as an Assistant Recorder in 1998, and a Recorder in 2000, initially sitting on Crime. He was subsequently appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2004, authorised to sit in the Chancery and King’s Bench Divisions.
He was appointed as a Specialist Circuit Judge, sitting in the Business and Property Courts in Manchester, with effect from 30 November 2020.
He sits primarily on Chancery work, but as a Judge of the Business and Property Courts is also authorised to sit in the Circuit Commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court. He also sits in the Administrative Court, and at other locations, including London.
He is a member of the Steering Group of the Manchester Business and Property Court Forum.
His Honour Judge Bever
His Honour Judge (Adrian) Bever was admitted as a solicitor in 1993.
He practised in Manchester, specialising in litigation and regulatory law. Adrian was a partner in the Dispute Resolution division of Addleshaw Goddard from 2003 until 2011, when he became a full-time judge.
He was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2005, and then as a District Judge in 2011.
Initially, he was based at Liverpool Civil and Family Court, before he was transferred to Manchester Civil Justice Centre in 2015, where he sat in the Business and Property Courts, the Financial Remedies Court and as a specialist Serious Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence District Judge.
Adrian has been a Civil Tutor at the Judicial College since 2016 (including delivering Deputy District Judge induction training), and he has worked closely with the Judicial Appointments Commission since 2018 in their Deputy District Judge appointment exercises.
In August 2022, Adrian was appointed as a Specialist Civil Circuit Judge in the Business and Property Courts in Manchester. He is authorised to sit in the High Court in all jurisdictions of the Business and Property Courts, and also in the King’s Bench Division.
Adrian is also authorised to sit in the Financial Remedies Court, a specialist division of the Family Court.
District Judge Obodai
District Judge Obodai was admitted as a Solicitor in 1988. She spent her legal career in practices in and around Manchester and before being appointed as a full time District Judge was a Commercial litigation partner at Wacks Caller specialising in Business and Property work. In 2000 she was appointed as the first black and only the third female President of Manchester Law Society.
She was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2001 and a District Judge in 2005. She is the lead BPC District Judge in Manchester and one of two nominated BPC Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court ( IPEC) Judges. She is a Judicial College Civil Course Director for Civil Continuation and Deputy District Judge Inductions and a Tutor on the Specialist Course.
She is also the Supervising Training Judge for the in-court training of newly appointed Deputy District Judges on the Northern Circuit in Manchester and an Appraising and Mentor Judge; and a member of the International Team of the Judicial College tasked with training the Zambian Judiciary to set up their own Judicial College.
She is a member of the Ecclesiastical Law Society and Vice Chancellor of the diocese of Blackburn.
District Judge Richmond
Judge Richmond was appointed to the District Bench after over 20 years as a solicitor and partner with major commercial practices in Manchester and West Yorkshire and 7 years as a Deputy District Judge on the North East Circuit. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Commercial Litigation from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Judge Richmond was appointed first to Birmingham Civil Justice Centre in 2003 and then moved to Manchester Civil Justice Centre in 2005. Judge Richmond is the Senior District Judge in Manchester and this role includes representing his colleagues in dealings with the senior judiciary and HMCTS.
Judge Richmond has been a nominated Business & Property Court Judge throughout his time on the bench in addition to his civil and specialist family jurisdictions.
Judge Richmond is currently the Co-ordinator of the Annual Business & Property Court District Judges Conference; an event which caters specifically for matters relevant to a Business & Property Court District Judges jurisdiction with contributions from senior members of both the judiciary and the legal profession. Judge Richmond is also currently the Chair of the Association of HM District Judge (Northern Circuit)
District Judge Matharu
District Judge Matharu was admitted as a solicitor in November 1991.
She was a commercial litigation partner in practices in Newcastle upon Tyne. She acquired Higher Rights of Audience at that time. She was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2004 and a District Judge in 2009, when she re-located to the North West.
She has been a BPC judge since 2010. She is a specialist Court of Protection Judge. She also is a contributor to the Equal Treatment Bench Book.
She has been a Judicial College tutor since 2010 and was Course Director for Civil Continuation, DDJ Induction and Recorder Induction until 2019. She is now a Course Director for Court of Protection, a civil tutor and cross jurisdiction tutor for the Judicial College. She is also a training judge for newly appointed Deputy District Judges who sit at Manchester and a mentor judge.
District Judge Woodward
District Judge Woodward was called to the Bar in 1989. She was in practice as a barrister in Manchester until her appointment to the District Bench in 2018, specialising in commercial litigation, employment and discrimination law. She was appointed a fee-paid Employment Judge in 2005, a Deputy District Judge in 2015, and a Recorder in 2018. She is based at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre and is a nominated BPC Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (IPEC) Judge.