Peter Openshaw

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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 and 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 assigned to the Queen's Bench Division.[2] In 2005, he became a member of the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee. He is no longer on the 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]

He sat as the Judge in the Hillsborough criminal trial R v Duckenfield and R v Mackrell at Preston Crown Court between January 2019 and April 2019.

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.[7]

He was the son of Judge William Harrison Openshaw, who was murdered on 11 May 1981 by John Smith. John Smith had been sent to borstal for 18 months in 1968 by Judge William Openshaw for stealing. Smith hid in William's garage in Broughton, Lancashire, and stabbed him 12 times. John Smith was convicted of murder in November 1981.[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). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 22, 2004. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Biographies". The Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings. Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  3. ^ "No. 52502". The London Gazette. 12 April 1991. pp. 5717–5718.
  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. ^ "Married judges make legal history", BBC News Online, September 30, 2005. Accessed June 6, 2007.
  8. ^ The Telegraph online, July 08, 2008. Accessed March 26, 2019.
  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.