Lady Chief Justice conducts Circuit Judge swearing-in ceremony during visit to Wales

Lady Chief JusticeNews

During the Lady Chief Justice’s circuit visit to Wales, she conducted the swearing-in ceremony of a Circuit Judge on 13 March 2024. HHJ Paul Hopkins KC was appointed by His Majesty to serve as a Circuit Judge and Designated Family Judge for South East Wales.

The Lady Chief Justice was joined on the Bench by the Senior Presiding Judge of Wales, Mr Justice Griffiths, and Mrs Justice Thornton. The entire ceremony, including the judicial oaths, was conducted in both English and Welsh.

In her speech, The Lady Chief Justice said: “Occasions like this are important, not just for the judge himself. They are positive for the whole judiciary and the wider public. They remind us of the commitment of those in the legal profession prepared to devote themselves to the rule of law and to contribute to the quality of what is the world class judiciary that we have in Wales.”

HHJ Hopkins KC

Paul was born in Maesteg, Wales and educated at Maesteg Comprehensive School. He then went to study law at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 1987. He was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1989.

His judicial journey commenced in 2005 with his appointment as a Recorder. Paul then attained the prestigious rank of Queen’s Counsel, taking silk in 2009, specialising in family law with a particular focus on children. Notably, he represented the Welsh Government Legal Services Department in the Supreme Court in the matter of T (A Child) – a landmark case which looked at the placement of children in relation to registered secure children’s homes.

Throughout his tenure, Paul assumed various leadership roles, including serving as the leader of the Wales and Chester Circuit from 2016 to 2019. In 2021, he was appointed as Deputy High Court Judge.