John Dyson, Lord Dyson

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The Right Honourable
Lord Dyson
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Master of the Rolls
Head of Civil Justice
In office
1 October 2012 – 2 October 2016
Preceded by The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Succeeded by Sir Terence Etherton
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
In office
12 April 2010 – 1 October 2012
Preceded by The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
(as Lord of Appeal in Ordinary)
Succeeded by Lord Hughes of Ombersley
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
11 January 2001 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Sir Martin Nourse
High Court Judge
In office
30 March 1993 – 11 January 2001
Personal details
Born John Anthony Dyson
(1943-07-31) 31 July 1943 (age 73)
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Levy
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford
Occupation Judge
Profession Barrister
Religion Judaism

John Anthony Dyson, Lord Dyson[n 1] (born 31 July 1943) is a former British judge and barrister. He was Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice, the second most senior judge in England and Wales, from 2012 to 2016, and a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2012. He was the first justice, after Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, to be appointed directly to that court, and the first not to be a peer. However, by Royal Warrant, like all future appointees, he is styled "Lord Dyson" for life.

Early life[edit]

Dyson's mother was Bulgarian and his paternal grandparents Lithuanian. He was born in Yorkshire and educated at Leeds Grammar School. He studied the piano with Dame Fanny Waterman DBE. He then studied classics at Wadham College, Oxford. He was called to Bar at the Middle Temple in 1968, of which he was appointed a Bencher in 1990. He took silk in 1982 and was appointed a Recorder in 1986.

Legal career[edit]

Dyson was the Head of 39 Essex Chambers from 1986 to 1993.

He was appointed to the Bench of the High Court on 30 March 1993,[3] sitting in the Queen's Bench Division, and received a knighthood. In 1994, he was appointed Chairman of the Equal Treatment Advisory Committee of the Judicial College. In 1998, he became Presiding Judge of the Technology and Construction Court, a specialist part of the Queen's Bench Division.

On 11 January 2001, Dyson was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal, a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, in succession to Lord Justice Nourse,[4] and was appointed to the Privy Council.[5] In 2003, he was promoted to Deputy Head of Civil Justice.

Dyson was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court with effect from 12 April 2010,[6] and was sworn in on 19 April.[7] His appointment brought the Supreme Court up to full strength by filling a vacancy that had existed since the court began work in October 2009.

According to Standpoint, he was said to have come a "close second" to Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury to succeed Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony as Master of the Rolls in 2009.[8] In the event, Dyson was appointed Master of the Rolls with effect from 1 October 2012[9] as was widely expected following the announcement of Neuberger's appointment (also with effect from 1 October) as President of the Supreme Court in July 2012.[10][11] From 2012 to 2016, he was Chairman of the Magna Carta Trust and of the Advisory Council to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on National Records and Archives.

Dyson retired and was replaced by Sir Terence Etherton as Master of the Rolls on 3 October 2016.

He has returned to 39 Essex Chambers to practise as an arbitrator and mediator.


In 2013, Dyson was awarded Honorary Degrees of LLD by Essex University and University College, London.

In 2014, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of LLD by Leeds University.

He is a visiting professor of law at Queen Mary, London and University College, London.

He is an Honorary fellow of Wadham College, Oxford and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Personal life[edit]

He has been married to Jacqueline since 1970. They have a daughter and a son.


  1. ^ It was announced in December 2010 that all members of the Supreme Court are entitled to be called "Lord", even if they do not hold a peerage. Dyson is the first Supreme Court Justice to be given the title.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Courtesy titles for Justices of the Supreme Court" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59746. pp. 6177–6178. 1 April 2011.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 53265. p. 5975. 2 April 1993.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56092. p. 535. 16 January 2001.
  5. ^ "Orders for 14 March 2001" (PDF). Privy Council Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-03. 
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59394. p. 6839. 19 April 2010.
  7. ^ Hirsch, Afua (19 April 2010). "Sir John Dyson sworn in as 12th supreme court justice". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "New Master of the Rolls". Standpoint. 5 July 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 60289. p. 19046. 4 October 2012.
  10. ^ Rozenberg, Joshua (12 July 2012). "Lord Neuberger to be announced as supreme court president". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Baksi, Catherine (12 July 2012). "Neuberger gets top job at Supreme Court". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Master of the Rolls
Succeeded by
Sir Terence Etherton