Sir Declan Morgan ruled out as candidate for Supreme Court seat

Lord Kerr
Lord Kerr

Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, has been ruled out as a candidate for the UK Supreme Court seat to be vacated by Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore on his retirement in September.

Lord Kerr is the only justice with knowledge of and experience of practice in the law of Northern Ireland, and the Lord Chief Justice is traditionally appointed to fill that vacancy.

However, Sir Declan was yesterday named as a member of the selection commission for the vacancy and will therefore not be a candidate.

The court has officially launched the recruitment process for Lord Kerr’s successor, inviting candidates with experience of Northern Ireland law to apply for the post before 21 May for appointment in October.

Applications are being sought “from the widest range of candidates eligible to apply”, including those who are not currently full-time judges, and “particularly those who will increase the diversity of the court”.

Lord Kerr, a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, qualified as a barrister in Northern Ireland in 1970 and in England and Wales in 1974. He took silk in 1983, a decade before his appointment as a High Court judge in Northern Ireland.

He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland in 2004, which led to his later appointment as Northern Ireland’s Lord of Appeal in Ordinary when Lord Carswell retired in 2009, in line with a long-standing tradition.

He was the last person to be appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and is the last one still serving on the Supreme Court, having been the youngest of its inaugural justices.

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