Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast 2021

Lord Chief Justice, left, with train-bearer; Lord Chancellor; mace-bearer

It took place this year, but with some masked and with fewer judges than usual.

I’m not sure I will do this again, because the peculiarities of post-lockdown meant that I accidentally joined the professional photographers, though I did not have a press pass. The light is so much better from the other side! I doubt I could wing it again. But I will investigate getting a press pass or waving my RPS membership card.

As always, I have difficulties working out who is who. First appears the Lord Chancellor, Dominic Rudd (at least he studied law – Liz Truss wasn’t even capable of attacking the tabloid press on ‘Enemies of the People’), together with the Lord Chief Justice, currently Lord Burnett of Maldon, the most important judge after him, who wears the High Court red but with the extra detail of a train, which here a woman has to carry. There is a man with no apparent function too.

After this come a mixture of both justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. There is a certain order of priority. Thus, first come a few in full-bottomed wigs – these are the heads of division. The one in front here is Dame Victoria Sharp, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division:

I read that she had four children in five years and did not take any leave at all, because as a barrister she would only get work if she was present in chambers. This might be one of those children, just a guess. Behind her is probably Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls, but I am not sure. I am just guessing he would be next.

The mystery is: who is the gentleman in the tricorne hat? I am thinking possibly a Canadian judge, but then why so early in the procession? The umbrella-bearer may be a guest of the man on the left. The UK Parliament website says:

Guests include:

  • judges from England and Wales
  • senior judicial officers
  • the Law Officers of the Crown
  • Queen’s Counsel (QCs)
  • overseas judges and lawyers
  • members of the European Court, and
  • Government ministers.

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