Brian Kerr, Baron Kerr of Tonaghmore

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"Lord Kerr" redirects here. See also Lord Kerr of Kinlochard and Lord Kerr of Newbottle.
The Right Honourable
The Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore
PC
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 October 2009
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Position created
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
29 June 2009 – 30 September 2009
Preceded by Lord Carswell
Succeeded by Position eliminated
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
In office
2004–2009
Appointed by Elizabeth II
Preceded by Lord Carswell
Succeeded by Sir Declan Morgan
Personal details
Born (1948-02-22) 22 February 1948 (age 66)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Gillian Widdowson
Children 2
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Barrister
Religion Roman Catholicism

Brian Francis Kerr, Baron Kerr of Tonaghmore, PC, is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

Early life[edit]

Brian Kerr was born on 22 February 1948 to James William Kerr and Kathleen Rose, née Murray, of Lurgan, County Armagh.[1] He was educated at St Colman's College, Newry and read law at Queen's University Belfast. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1970, and to the Bar of England and Wales at Gray's Inn in 1974.[2] He took silk in 1983 and became a member of the King's Inns in 1990, and an Honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn in 1997 and the King's Inns in 2004. He served as Junior Crown Counsel (Common Law) from 1978 to 1983 and Senior Crown Counsel from 1988 to 1993.[1]

Judicial career[edit]

In 1993, Brian Kerr was appointed a Judge of the High Court and knighted, and in 2004 was appointed Lord Chief Justice[1][2] and sworn of the Privy Council.[3] As is tradition for the Lord Chief Justice,[4] he succeeded Lord Carswell as the Northern Irish Lord of Appeal in Ordinary upon the latter's retirement.[2] On 29 June 2009, he was created Baron Kerr of Tonaghmore, of Tonaghmore in the County of Down, and was introduced to the House of Lords the same day. He was the last person to be appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (and therefore the last to be given a law life peerage under the 1876 act), and on 1 October 2009 he became one of the inaugural Justices of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He is also the youngest member, at age 63.[5] He was succeeded as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland on 3 July 2009 by Sir Declan Morgan.[6]

Lord Kerr dissented from the controversial judgment of the Supreme Court in R v Gnango, in which the court held that a person could be an accessory to their own murder.[7]

In 2014, Ulster University awarded Lord Kerr an honorary doctorate in law.[8]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Gillian, Lady Kerr (née Widdowson) and has two sons. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic but his religious affiliation is private.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c A & C Black (December 2008). "KERR, Rt Hon. Sir Brian (Francis)'". Who's Who. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Appointment of two Lords of Appeal in Ordinary". 10 Downing Street. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Privy Council Appointment (Sir Brian Francis Kerr)". 10 Downing Street. 6 February 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Sir Brian Kerr Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland". London: The Times. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Sir Brian is last ever Law Lord". BBC News Online. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland". 10 Downing Street. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ R v Gnango [2011] UKSC 59 (14 December 2011)
  8. ^ http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2014/7240.html
  9. ^ "Catholic appointed new lord chief justice". The Irish News. 12 December 2003. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert Carswell
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
2004–2009
Succeeded by
Sir Declan Morgan