Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of The Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane as the President of the Family Division from 28 July 2018. This appointment follows the retirement of Sir James Munby on 27 July 2018.
Sir Andrew McFarlane was called to the Bar in 1977 and took Silk (Queens Counsel) in 1998. He was appointed a Recorder in 1995, a Deputy High Court Judge in 2000 and a High Court Judge in the Family Division in 2005.
He co-wrote Children Law and Practice which coincided with the enactment of the Children Act 1989 in 1991, and he has been noted for his speeches and lectures around the country on all aspects of child law.
His expertise resulted in his selection as the only legal member of the Family Justice Review (Norgrove) and as the judicial representative for the current sector-led review financed by the Nuffield. The review is due to report this summer.
Sir Andrew has held or holds leadership posts including Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, Chairman of the Clergy Discipline Commission and President of the Clergy Disciplines Tribunals. He was Family Division Liaison Judge for the Midland circuit until his appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011 where he is the Supervising Lord Justice for Family Cases.
The appointment of the President of the Family Division was made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor following the recommendation of an independent selection panel chaired by Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice.
The other panel members were:
- the President of the Supreme Court
- Baroness Hale
- three lay Judicial Appointments Commissioners namely, Professor Lord Kakkar (Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission), Dame Valarie Strachan and Mr Andrew Kennon
The President is the Head of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice and may sit as of right in the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Family Court either alone or as part of a panel. He is also Head of Family Justice, Head of Probate, President of the Court of Protection and chairs both the Family Procedure Rule Committee and Family Justice Council.
This selection exercise was run under the relevant sections of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
In accordance with section 70 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, the panel determined the selection process to be followed. As required by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, the Lord Chancellor was consulted as part of the selection process.
In accordance with s.10 (3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, the selection exercise was open to all applicants who satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis, or are judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Court of Appeal, or High Court.