Peter Openshaw

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For the physician, see Peter Openshaw (physician).

Sir Charles Peter Lawford Openshaw, DL (born 1947), styled The Hon. Mr Justice Openshaw, is an English judge of the High Court, Queen's Bench Division.[1]

Early life[edit]

Openshaw was educated at Harrow School, an all-boys public school in Harrow, London. He studied at St Catharine's College, Cambridge.[2]

Legal career[edit]

Openshaw was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1970. On 9 April 1991, he was appointed a Queen's Counsel (QC).[3]

On 16 March 1999, Openshaw was appointed a Circuit Judge.[4] He was appointed the Honorary Recorder of Preston in 1999 and served for seven years.[5]

In September 2005, he was appointed as a High Court Judge and sits in the Queen's Bench Division.[2] Since 2005, he has been a member of the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee.[2][6] Between 2008 and 2012, he was a presiding judge of the North Eastern Circuit.[6]

He was made a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2003.[6]

Openshaw Internet statements[edit]

Openshaw attracted international media attention, when he stated in open court at Woolwich Crown Court, east London on 16 May 2007, "The trouble is I don't understand the language. I don't really understand what a Web site is." Court officials later said his statement was an attempt to clarify issues for the benefit of the court, not for himself, as is the role of the judiciary.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Openshaw is married to Dame Caroline Swift. They were sworn in as High Court judges on the same day in October 2005, which was thought at the time to be a first.[8]


On 10 May 2000, Openshaw was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) for Lancashire.[9] In 2008, he was appointed a lay canon of Blackburn Cathedral.[10]

He was knighted upon being appointed as a high court judge.


  1. ^ "Appointments" (PDF). Retrieved September 8, 2016. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Biographies". The Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings. Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 52502. pp. 5717–5718. 12 April 1991. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Crown Office". The London Gazette (55437). 23 March 1999. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Preston welcomes new Honorary Recorder". Preston City Council. 7 June 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. 
  6. ^ a b c "(Charles) Peter Lawford Openshaw OPENSHAW". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Statement from the Judicial Communications Office: Mr Justice Openshaw". Judicial Communications Office. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Married judges make legal history", BBC News Online, September 30, 2005. Accessed June 6, 2007.
  9. ^ "Deputy Lieutenant Commissions". The London Gazette (55846). 12 May 2000. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "The College of Canons". Blackburn Cathedral. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.