The Northern Circuit is 835 years old dating back to 1176 when King Henry II sent his judges on Circuit to do justice in his name. The Circuit encompassed the whole of the North of England but was divided in 1876. That part to the west of the Pennines retained the old name and the land to the east became the territory of the North Eastern Circuit. Both Circuits have much in common and happily have maintained strong links.
In 1876, 62 members of the Bar had chambers on the Circuit. There were 29 in Liverpool, 32 in Manchester and just one in Preston. Now we are over 1100 strong, 1250 if you count the judges and those who have retired.
There are and have been many famous Circuiteers. F E Smith and Hartley Shawcross were household names. Others who attained high distinction outside of the law were John Buchan, W S Gilbert, and James Boswell, the biographer of Dr Johnson and a Junior of the Circuit. I have been proud to present them and over 3000 more Circuiteers in my “Directory of the Northern Circuit 1876-2004.”
Since 1876 the Circuit which presently comprises 10 per cent of the Bar has produced the following judges:- Lord Chancellor (3) : Law Lord (7) : Lord Chief Justice (3) : Master of the Rolls (3) : President, Probate, Divorce & Admiralty Division (5) : Lord Justice of Appeal (25) : Lady Justice of Appeal (2) : High Court Judge (83)
In 1994 there were five women High Court Judges. Four were Northern Circuiteers following the fine example of the late Rose Heilbron who was the first from the Circuit 20 years earlier. That fine tradition was maintained in 2004 by the appointment to the House of Lords of Baroness Hale of Richmond. Another first for the Circuit.
We congratulate Mark Turner QC, Head of Deans Court Chambers, Manchester, on his appointment to the Queens, Bench Division of the High Court of Justice with effect from 28 January 2013.
We compliment the 4 Circuiteers who had the rank of Queen’s Counsel conferred upon them in the 2013 competition; Sally Anne Hatfield, Michael Pearson Hayton, Christopher Daw and Karl John Rowley.
These facts and figures demonstrate the strength and depth of the Northern Circuit. We continue to attract talented and industrious men and women who will uphold the high standards and fine traditions of this great Circuit.
His Honour David Lynch
Northern Circuit Remembrancer