Dame Sue Carr becomes Lady Chief Justice

Dame Sue Carr is the first woman to take on the role (Rory Lindsay/Lady Justice Carr/PA)
Dame Sue Carr is the first woman to take on the role (Rory Lindsay/Lady Justice Carr/PA)

Dame Sue Carr has become the Lady Chief Justice, the first woman to hold the title of the most senior judge in England and Wales.

She was sworn in on Monday during a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice in front of her family, heads of the legal profession and scores of senior judges.

The Lady Chief Justice Lady Carr is the 98th person in the role – which dates back to the 13th century – and her swearing in follows the retirement of former Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett.

She said: “It is a great privilege to assume this role. I would like to pay tribute to Lord Burnett who has demonstrated extraordinary resilience and leadership during a time of great change, including keeping the courts running during the pandemic. He has personally given so much to the law and to the judiciary.

“I do not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead, and I look forward to approaching the role with energy, enthusiasm, and positivity.

“The rule of law is a fundamental constitutional principle which underpins an open, fair and peaceful society, where citizens and businesses can prosper. Our judges and magistrates are its cornerstone.”

The Lady Chief Justice’s role involves liaising with the Government, including over provision of resources to the judiciary, and being responsible for the welfare, training and guidance of the judiciary as well as the deployment of judges and allocation of work in the courts.

Lady Carr became a barrister in 1987 and took silk in 2003. She held a number of senior roles during her career as a lawyer, including chair of the Bar Standards Board conduct committee and complaints commissioner to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

She became a criminal judge in 2009 and a High Court judge in 2013, before being appointed a Lady Justice of Appeal in 2020.