Sir Brian Kerr to take NI Chief Justice job


Sir Brian Kerr was today preparing to take on the mantle of Lord Chief Justiceof Northern Ireland in the morning.

His appointment is a knock-on effect of the decision by Lord Hutton to retireas a law lord today. The completion of his eagerly awaited report into the deathof Ministry of Defence weapons expert Dr David Kelly - due to be published bythe end of the month - will be his last official legal duty.

Sir Brian takes over from Sir Robert Carswell at the helm of the judiciary inNorthern Ireland, with Sir Robert becoming a law lord in place of Lord Hutton.

Only the second Catholic to hold the top legal post in Belfast, he has been aHigh Court judge since 1993 and has ruled on numerous politically contentiouscases.

When his appointment was confirmed last month he said he was deeply honouredto be replacing Sir Robert Caswell and looked forward to meeting the challengesof his new role.

Sir Brian said: "The justice system is in a period of considerable change. Asjudges we recognise that we must play our part in the implementation of thosechanges.

For instance, we will be participating in the establishment of a new JudicialAppointments Commission and will be dealing with the many legislativeinitiatives that will have an impact on the work of the courts.

"I am confident that the judiciary will rise to the challenge that thesechanges present while continuing to manage the ongoing and significant workloadundertaken in courts at every level."