President, Supreme Court
Baroness Hale became the country’s most senior judge this month as President of the Supreme Court. She is the first woman to hold the post. Educated at a state school, she is a prominent advocate of improving social and gender diversity in the law. She attracted controversy last year in a speech before the Supreme Court’s Brexit judgment by questioning if the Government might need to replace the 1972 European Communities Act before triggering Article 50 instead of passing a short piece of legislation. She also voted with the majority of Supreme Court justices who backed Gina Miller’s case that an Act of Parliament was required to trigger Article 50.
David Anderson, from London’s Brick Court chambers, stepped down as the Government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation earlier this year but soon after was appointed by the Government to review whether police and MI5 could have done more to prevent the terror attacks in London and Manchester. His findings could prove important in influencing future changes to the methods used by the security services to assess and monitor suspects. In his previous role as terror watchdog, Anderson provided a blueprint for improving surveillance legislation, with many of his recommendations adopted by ministers.
Chief Inspector of Prisons
Peter Clarke is in charge of assessing standards behind bars and reporting to the public on the Government’s efforts to transform jails and improve rehabilitation. In his previous career as a police officer, he rose to become a Met Assistant Commissioner and headed Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit.
Nigel Dyer QC is one of the country’s leading divorce barristers and specialises in complex cases involving overseas clients and the tracing of assets held abroad. Earlier this year, he helped the east European ex-wife of a Russian billionaire win a £453 million settlement from her former husband in a High Court ruling that is thought to be a record payout.
Master of the Rolls
Sir Terence was one of three senior judges who issued the landmark High Court ruling last year requiring the government to seek parliamentary approval for using Article 50 to trigger the Brexit process. He is the first openly gay senior judge and as head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales ranks second in the legal hierarchy below the Lord Chief Justice. Educated at St Paul’s School in London, he married Andrew Stone at the West London Synagogue in 2014. Sir Terence was also a member of the British fencing team for sabre at the 1980 Olympics.
Director, Serious Fraud Office
SFO director since 2012, David Green has responded to Conservative proposals to merge his organisation into the National Crime Agency by launching a high-profile prosecution against Barclays and four of its most senior executives (they deny any wrongdoing). Widely respected in the legal world, he has also gained a £129 million payment from Tesco and £497 million from Rolls-Royce under “deferred prosecution agreements” backed by the courts.
Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
Max Hill was appointed as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation earlier this year after a career as a successful prosecutor in some of the country’s most serious terrorist cases. Since taking up his new job, he has criticised plans to impose fines on internet companies that fail to prevent extremist material appearing on their sites and suggested that some little-used terrorism laws could be scrapped.
Chair, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Professor Alexis Jay is leading the Government’s independent inquiry into child sex abuse. She is a former chief social worker to the Scottish government and was praised for her work as head of the earlier inquiry into abuse of children in Rotherham. She was awarded an OBE in 2012 for her services to children and families.
Dame Helena Kennedy is one of the country’s most renowned barristers and leading member of the House of Lords. Her achievements in the past year include playing a key role in securing the passage of a new “Magnitsky” law allowing the assets of those suspected of human rights abuses or corruption overseas to have their assets here frozen. She has also spoken out on Brexit and recently introduced a new parliamentary amendment calling for new powers to exclude human rights abusers to be denied entry to the UK.
Lewis earlier this year successfully represented Jack Monroe in the High Court in a dispute with Katie Hopkins over a Twitter libel — or twibel as it has come to be known. He first made his name during the phone-hacking scandal, representing numerous clients, most notably Milly Dowler’s family. He has also campaigned to close loopholes exploited by libel tourists. Chambers and Partners describes him as having “an impressive tally of opponents who regretted taking Mark on”.
Chairman, Grenfell Tower Fire Public Inquiry
Sir Martin will seek to uncover what led to the blaze and how to prevent future disasters. He retired as a judge last year after a career in which he rose to become vice president of the civil division of the Court of Appeal. He has expertise in contract law, but has been criticised by some for being of the wrong background to understand the plight of the victims.
Chairman, Independent Press Standards Organisation
Sir Alan Moses is a former Court of Appeal judge who now heads the body set up by newspapers to handle complaints following the Leveson inquiry. During his career on the bench, he won plaudits for his sensitive handling of the Soham murder trial. His personal interests include choir-singing and hill-walking.
Director of Public Prosecutions
The DPP has had a quieter year after facing down several detractors earlier in her tenure. Her achievements during the past 12 months include achieving the largest-ever number of convictions for rape and other sexual offences. She has also overseen controversial decisions on cases involving alleged election expense offences by MPs and a large number of counter-terrorism prosecutions.
A barrister at London’s Doughty Street chambers, Martha Spurrier is the head of civil rights campaign group Liberty. She has vowed to fight any attempt to reduce citizens’ rights as Britain leaves the EU and is leading a #KeepBritainKind campaign that seeks to ensure “decency, compassion and fairness” in politics. She has also voiced her opposition to government plans to make it easier to access social media communications. Her specialities during her previous career at the Bar included children’s and women’s rights issues and claims against public authorities, including the police.
Chancellor of the High Court
Lord Justice Vos is one of the most country’s most senior judges and is leading a judicial taskforce seeking to ensure that London remains as the world’s foremost centre for international dispute resolution after Brexit. He is a former chairman of the Bar Council and became a Court of Appeal judge in 2013.
Jeremy Wright QC is the Government’s principal legal adviser, giving the Prime Minister and Cabinet his assessment of the legality of key issues across the political spectrum. He led the Government’s unsuccessful Article 50 case but was reappointed after the general election. Before entering Parliament in 2010, he was a barrister specialising in criminal law.