John Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd
The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
|Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales|
1 October 2013 – 1 October 2017
|Preceded by||The Lord Judge|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Burnett of Maldon|
|President of the Queen's Bench Division|
3 October 2011 – 1 October 2013
|Deputy||Dame Heather Hallett|
|Preceded by||Sir Anthony May|
|Succeeded by||Sir Brian Leveson|
|Lord Justice of Appeal|
14 July 2003 – 3 October 2011
|Born||22 October 1947|
Wales, United Kingdom
Early life and education
Thomas was educated at Rugby School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in Law in 1966. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity Hall in 2004. He proceeded to the University of Chicago where he earned a J.D. degree and was a Commonwealth Fellow.
Thomas was called to the Bar in 1969 (Gray's Inn). He was elected a Bencher in 1992. He commenced practice in 1972, became a Queen's Counsel in 1984 and was appointed a Recorder in 1987. He practiced as a member of the commercial chambers at 4 Essex Court in the Temple, which in 1994 moved to Lincoln's Inn Fields and has since then been known as Essex Court Chambers.
On 11 January 1996, he was appointed a High Court judge, receiving the customary knighthood, and was assigned to the Queen's Bench Division, serving on the Commercial Court until his appointment to the Court of Appeal. From 1998 to 2001 he was a Presiding Judge of the Wales and Chester Circuit. On 14 July 2003, Thomas became a Lord Justice of Appeal and given the customary appointment to the Privy Council later that year. He served as the Senior Presiding Judge from 2003 to 2006, and President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from 2008 to 2010, having participated in its founding in 2003–2004.
In October 2008, Thomas was appointed Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division and Deputy Head of Criminal Justice. On 3 October 2011, he succeeded Sir Anthony May as President of the Queen's Bench Division.
Promotion to Lord Chief Justice
On 1 October 2013, Thomas was appointed to succeed Lord Judge as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. On 26 September 2013, it was announced Thomas would become a life peer upon taking office as Lord Chief Justice. He was created a Life Peer on 4 October 2013, taking the title Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, of Cwmgiedd in the County of Powys. Following his introduction, as a serving member of the judiciary he was immediately disqualified from sitting in the House of Lords under section 137(3) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
He was appointed by the Government of Wales in September 2017 to chair a Commission on Justice in Wales. Commissioners were appointed in November 2017. The commission undertook a review of the justice system in Wales (for December 2017 - October 2019) and published its report in October 2019. The report "set a long term vision for the future of justice in Wales".
Thomas is one of the Founding Members of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that conducts research, makes recommendations and provides practical guidance in the field of European legal development. He is a member of its Executive Committee.
His disqualification from sitting in the House of Lords ceased on his retirement as Lord Chief Justice, he is a member of the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee and chaired the Middle Level Bill Committee in 2018.
He is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor and an Honorary Doctor of Law of the Universities of South Wales, the West of England, Wales and of Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.
He was appointed Chairman of the Financial Markets Law Committee in November 2017. He returned to Essex Court Chambers in November 2017 and joined the Arbitrators at 24 Lincoln's Inn Fields. He was a founder of the AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society in 1991 and is its president.
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- "First Minister establishes a Commission on Justice in Wales". Welsh Government. Welsh Government. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
- "The Commission on Justice in Wales". gov.wales. Welsh Government. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
- "Executive Committee".
- "Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd appointed University Chancellor". Aberystwyth University. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2019.