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Supreme Court open for business

6 October 2009

The Supreme Court is open for business after 11 justices were sworn in at a televised ceremony, at the former Middlesex Crown Court building in Parliament Square.

The twelfth, filling the vacancy left after Lord Neuberger stepped down from being a law lord to become Master of the Rolls, will be appointed later this year.

It is still to be decided whether the new arrival will become an honorary lord, or known simply as ‘justice.’ Media speculation suggests that the successful candidate will be Jonathan Sumption QC, joint head of Brick Court Chambers.

The Supreme Court justices were dressed in black robes with gold borders, replacing the wigs or breeches they wore as law lords. Baroness Hale was the only one to cover her head, wearing a specially designed black hat with a gold tassel.

After the swearing in, the justices joined the traditional procession to Westminster Abbey to mark the opening of the legal year.

In the afternoon, in Court Room 2, they heard their first application, which related to a protected costs order in R (on the application of E) v governing body and admissions appeal panel of JFS.

The appeal in the case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court at the end of this month. The Court of Appeal ruled in June that the school’s admissions policy, which required mothers to be Jewish, was a breach of the Race Relations Act 1976 (see solicitorsjournal.com 30 June 2009).

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