Legal Opinion

(asked on 20th November 2023) - View Source

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask His Majesty's Government what rules, guidance or conventions they consider to be applicable to the provision of professional legal services, including advocacy, legal representation and the giving of legal advice, by retired UK judges.

Answered by
Lord Bellamy Portrait
Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
This question was answered on 5th December 2023

There is a longstanding convention that prohibits former holders of salaried judicial office from returning to private legal practice. This is reflected in the terms and conditions of service which apply on appointment to judicial office, which state that candidates accept appointment on the understanding that it is “intended for the remainder of a person’s professional life” and that “following termination of their appointment they will not return to private practice as a barrister or a solicitor".

The Government has noted the report, “Work in Judicial Retirement”, which relates to judges in the High Court and above and the longstanding convention prohibiting salaried judges from returning to legal practice. The Government has also noted the evidence of Lord Burnett, the then Lord Chief Justice, to the Justice Select Committee in 2018, that the convention “is part and parcel of ensuring, and always has been, that the standing of our judiciary is very high indeed.”

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