High Court Judge quits the bench

Mr Justice Laddie resigns from Chancery Division to join specialist solicitors

Mr Justice Laddie has announced he is resigning from his position as a High Court judge in order to join a specialist solicitors’ firm.

Laddie, 59, was appointed to the Chancery Division in May 1995 and becomes the first High Court judge in 35 years voluntarily to resign.

Sir Hugh is joining IP specialists Willoughby and Partners, for whom he will work as a consultant. Speaking about the firm he will join, the judge said: “It is headed by lawyers I have known and liked for years and for whom I have the greatest admiration and respect.”

“From the isolation of the Bench I will be returned to the fun and mutual support of working in a team. The firm’s practice covers a wide range of work in the field I am expert in, intellectual property law.”

Peter Leaver, QC, one of Laddie J’s friends was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying that he believed that the resignation would “upset” the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, and the new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips: “They will view it as a breach of the unwritten rule – almost an unspoken oath – that joining the Bench is a one-way street.”

The Judge’s new salary with the firm is believed to be at a similar level to the amount he earned as a judge.