Sir Declan Morgan to retire as LCJ

The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, is to retire as the North’s top judge.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 11:38 am
Northern Ireland- 5th September 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Lord Chief Justice opens the new legal year at the courts in Belfast. Sir Declan Morgan addressed a gathering of senior judiciary and figures from across the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland at the Inn of Court in the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Derry man has held the role for more than a decade.

A spokesperson from the office of the Lord Chief Justice confirmed to the ‘Journal’: “The Prime Minister has asked the Lord Chief Justice to convene a selection panel which will make a recommendation to him of a suitable candidate to be appointed by HM the Queen as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

“This is in accordance with section 12 of the Judicature (NI) Act 1978. A press release announcing the commencement of the competition will be issued in the coming weeks.”

Sir Declan Morgan was educated at St Columb’s College in Derry, before attending Peterhouse, Cambridge, and Queen’s University, Belfast.

He was called to the Bar in 1976 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1993.

Between 2002 and 2004, he was Senior Crown Counsel for Northern Ireland and also served as Judge-in-Residence at the School of Law of Queen’s University Belfast for a time.

He became a High Court judge in 2004 and was knighted.

Sir Declan Morgan succeeded Sir Brian Kerr as Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland in July 2009.

During his tenure, Sir Declan Morgan made history when he appointed the first female High Court judges in the North.

He also set out a five year plan to tackle the backlog of Troubles legacy inquests.

His successor will have further backlogs within the court system to deal with, as lockdown and the remaining Covid restrictions have caused a large number of Crown Court cases to be delayed.