Morgan set to become North's chief justice


HIGH COURT judge Sir Declan Morgan is to become the next Lord Chief Justice in Northern Ireland, The Irish Timesunderstands.

An official announcement has not been made but it is understood the appointment will be formally declared by the Courts Service shortly before Sir Brian Kerr leaves the post at the end of this month.

Sir Declan, who is married with three children, was educated at St Columb’s College in Derry, Peterhouse, Cambridge and Queen’s University Belfast.

He was called to the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1993. He was Senior Crown Counsel for Northern Ireland from 2002 until his appointment as a High Court Judge in May 2004.

He was appointed to the Family Division in January 2007 and in September 2008 became one of two judges with responsibility for judicial review.

He was appointed chairman of the Law Reform Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland in 2004.

In April 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Northern Ireland Law Commission.

He is also judge-in-residence at the School of Law at Queen’s University.

Despite the lack of official confirmation, Sir Declan’s expected appointment was greeted yesterday by the SDLP.

In a statement the party said: “The SDLP warmly congratulates the appointment of Declan Morgan to the post. He brings to the position both the character and calibre to be a successful and progressive Lord Chief Justice.

“The administration of justice faces a number of acute challenges which need to be addressed to keep public confidence. These have been highlighted by a number of cases where there has been concern over the sentencing policy which has attracted particular publicity.

“There is also a requirement for the judiciary generally to have a fuller relationship and contact with the wider community. The SDLP wishes Declan Morgan the best in his tenure.”