John Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
1 John Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd 2016.jpg
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
In office
1 October 2013 – 1 October 2017
Nominated by Chris Grayling
Appointed by Queen Elizabeth II
Preceded by The Lord Judge
Succeeded by Sir Ian Burnett
President of the Queen's Bench Division
In office
3 October 2011 – 1 October 2013
Deputy Dame Heather Hallett
Preceded by Sir Anthony May
Succeeded by Sir Brian Leveson
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
14 July 2003 – 3 October 2011
Personal details
Born (1947-10-22) 22 October 1947 (age 69)
Wales, United Kingdom
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge, University of Chicago

Roger John Laugharne Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, PC, QC (born Carmarthen, 22 October 1947) is a British judge. He served as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2013 to 2017.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas was born in 1947 to Roger Edward Laugharne Thomas and his wife Dinah Agnes Thomas, of Cwmgiedd.[2]

Thomas was educated at Rugby School[2] and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in Law in 1966.[2] He was elected a Fellow of Trinity Hall in 2004,[2] he proceeded to the University of Chicago where he earned a J.D. degree and was a Commonwealth Fellow.[2]

Thomas was an assistant teacher at Mayo College, Ajmer, India, from 1965–66.[2]

Legal career[edit]

Thomas was called to the Bar in 1969 (Gray's Inn), he became a Queen's Counsel in 1984 and was appointed a Recorder in 1987.[1] He practised as a member of the commercial chambers at 4 Essex Court in the Temple, which in 1994 moved to Lincoln's Inn Fields and has since then been known as Essex Court Chambers.

He was the Department of Trade and Industry Inspector into Mirror Group Newspapers plc in 1992.[2]

On 11 January 1996, he was appointed a High Court judge,[3] receiving the customary knighthood,[4] and was assigned to the Queen's Bench Division, serving on the Commercial Court until his appointment to the Court of Appeal. On 14 July 2003, Thomas became a Lord Justice of Appeal[5] and given the customary appointment to the Privy Council later that year, he served as the Senior Presiding Judge from 2003 to 2006, and President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from 2008 to 2010.[1]

In October 2008, Thomas was appointed Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division and Deputy Head of Criminal Justice,[6] on 3 October 2011, he succeeded Sir Anthony May as President of the Queen's Bench Division.[7]

On 1 October 2013, Thomas was appointed to succeed Lord Judge as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.[8] On 26 September 2013, it was announced Thomas would become a life peer upon taking office as Lord Chief Justice,[9] he was created a Life Peer on 4 October 2013, taking the title Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, of Cwmgiedd in the County of Powys.[10] Following his introduction, as a serving member of the judiciary he was immediately disqualified from sitting in the House of Lords under section 137(3) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

In October 2016 Thomas was one of the three judges forming the divisional court of the High Court in proceedings concerning the use of the royal prerogative for the issue of notification in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (the Lisbon Treaty) (R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union).

He retired as Lord Chief Justice in October 2017 and was succeeded by Sir Ian Burnett.[11][needs update]

Other affiliations[edit]

Thomas is one of the Founding Members of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that conducts research, makes recommendations and provides practical guidance in the field of European legal development with a goal of enhancing the European legal integration.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor and an Honorary Doctor of Law of the Universities of Glamorgan, the West of England and Wales.

He is due to take up a position as Chancellor of Aberystwyth University in January 2018.[12]

In September 2017 it was announced that he is to chair a new Commission on Justice in Wales.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 1973, he married Elizabeth Ann Buchanan, daughter of S J Buchanan of Ohio, US,[2] they have one son and one daughter.[2]

He lists his recreations in Who's Who as gardens, walking and travel.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales – The Rt Hon Lord Thomas". Judiciary of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Rt Hon Sir (Roger) John Laugharne Thomas". Who's Who. A & C Black. 2013. 
  3. ^ "No. 54291". The London Gazette. 17 January 1996. p. 747. 
  4. ^ "No. 54407". The London Gazette. 24 May 1996. p. 7221. 
  5. ^ "No. 57004". The London Gazette. 18 July 2003. p. 8986. 
  6. ^ Rozenberg, Joshua (12 October 2012). "A Who's Hughes of the number twos". The Telegraph. 
  7. ^ "No. 59931". The London Gazette. 6 October 2011. p. 19091. 
  8. ^ "Appointment of the Lord Chief Justice" (Press release). 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Peerage for the new Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales". 26 September 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "No. 60649". The London Gazette. 7 October 2013. p. 19679. 
  11. ^ "Appointment of new Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales". 14 July 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Lord Judge
Lord Chief Justice
Succeeded by
Sir Ian Burnett