Bristol legal community welcomes Master of the Rolls

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28 January 2011

UK’s second most senior judge visits city

Last Friday the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, visited Bristol to view the new Civil Justice Centre and meet those who work in and use the Bristol courts.

The event was eagerly anticipated by the Bristol legal community.  Arrangements for the visit were led by Bristol Mercantile Court judge, His Honour Judge Havelock-Allan QC and His Honour Judge McCahill QC, the Chancery Judge in Bristol. 

On Thursday evening, the Master of the Rolls was entertained to dinner at the Merchant Venturers' Hall by the local Bar Association.  He was welcomed by Leslie Blohm QC, Chairman of the Bristol Chancery & Commercial Bar Association. 

On Friday, after a tour of the new courts, he joined local solicitors and academics from Bristol University and the University of West of England for lunch at Burges Salmon’s offices.  He gave a short address after lunch in which he praised the new courts which he believed reflected the status of Bristol as a major legal centre.

The Master of the Rolls was accompanied by a number of senior judges with links to Bristol, including the two Presiding Judges, Mr Justice Field and Mr Justice Burnett, Lord Justice Jacob (formerly a Chancery Supervising Judge for the Western Circuit), Mr Justice Kitchin (the present Chancery Supervising Judge) and Mrs Justice Gloster (Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court, with responsibility for the regional Mercantile Courts).

The Master of the Rolls is the second most senior judge in the country after the Lord Chief Justice and is a position that has been held since at least the thirteenth century. The post was traditionally clerical, keeping the records of the Chancery court.

Lord Neuberger was appointed in October 2009.  Last year, he ruled that the Unite union had not reported results of its BA strike ballot correctly to members and, in another highly publicised case, that protesters in Democracy Village in Parliament Square should be evicted.

Peter Morris, Managing Partner at Burges Salmon, said:

“We were delighted to be able to work with senior members of our local judiciary to host this event."

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