Baroness Carr, Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales

Lady Chief JusticeBiographies

The Right Honourable the Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1987. As a barrister she specialised in general commercial law and took silk in 2003. She became chair of the Education and Training Committee of the Inner Temple, where she became a Governing Bencher in 2006; and head of chambers. In 2007 she became Chair of the Professional Negligence Bar Association, Chair of the Bar Standards Board Conduct Committee in 2008, and was appointed as the Complaints Commissioner to the International Criminal Court in the Hague in 2011. 

Her judicial career began in 2009 in crime, when she became a Recorder. She was appointed to the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division in 2013, and became the second female High Court Judge to sit in the Commercial Court and the first female High Court Judge to sit in the Technology and Construction Court in 2014. In the same year she became a member of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal a role she held until 2016. She became a Presider of the Midland Circuit from 2016 until 2020, when she was appointed as a Lady Justice of Appeal. In the same year she was also appointed as the senior Judicial Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission, a position she held until January 2023. 

She undertook pupillage at Brick Court Chambers and 2 Crown Office Row, now Four New Square, where she became a tenant in 1988. She was called to the New South Wales Bar in 1989, following a Pegasus scholarship in Sydney. She developed a broad commercial practice and became a trained arbitrator and mediator. 

Her practice at the Bar focussed on commercial professional liability, insurance and fraud litigation and arbitration. Her professional liability work related primarily to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, surveyors, architects and engineers. She appeared in the House of Lords in a leading case on constructive trusts and solicitors’ dishonesty, and in the Court of Appeal on a leading case on limitation in insurers’ claims against solicitors in respect of an after the event legal expenses scheme. She acted frequently in group litigation, including in the context of film/tax scheme disputes. She was also experienced in regulatory matters, including proceedings involving the Law Society and magic circle accountancy firms in proceedings brought by the Financial Reporting Council. In 2012 she was named Professional Negligence Silk of the Year by Chambers & Partners. 

She was Director of Magistrates’ Training and a member of the Judicial College Board between 2014 and 2018, and a Presider of the Midland Circuit, the largest Circuit outside London and the South East, from 2016 to 2020. In 2016 she was presented with the European Women in Business Law Lifetime Achievement Award. 

She was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2020. She was appointed as the Senior Judicial Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission shortly thereafter, remaining in that role until January 2023. She was a temporary Investigatory Powers Commissioner during the Covid-19 pandemic. She became President of the Professional Negligence Bar Association in 2022. 

She became Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales on 1 October 2023. As Lady Chief Justice, she will be the President of the Courts of England and Wales and Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales. She is the 98th person to hold this historic office and the first woman. 

She sits in both the Criminal and Civil divisions of the Court of Appeal and may hear cases in any English or Welsh court, including in Magistrates’ Courts and also, by invitation, in the UK Supreme Court. 

She was educated at Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire, where she was later a governor for 13 years, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read Modern Languages (Part 1) and Law (Part 2). She speaks French and German. She was a keen actress, including with the Bar Theatrical Society, and sportswoman. She remains an active musician, singing with the Bar Choral Society and playing the piano. She is married with three children.