Telegraph (UK): 'Bored' High Court judge resigns
By Joshua Rozenberg,
A High Court judge disclosed
yesterday that he is to resign from the
judiciary and join a firm of specialist
solicitors, giving up the "isolation" of the
Bench for what he called the "fun and mutual
support of working in a team".
Mr Justice Laddie, 59, is
thought to be the first judge to resign
voluntarily from the High Court for 35 years and
is the first to join a solicitors' firm. His
unwillingness to continue serving on the Bench
is a sign that judges are increasingly reluctant
to accept what has been traditionally regarded
as a "life sentence".
Hugh Laddie: 'nearly 25 years of fun' at
One of his friends, Peter
Leaver, QC, said 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."
Sir Hugh Laddie, a specialist
in intellectual property, has been a Chancery
judge for 10 years. He told The Daily Telegraph
he would step down next month.
The judge said he was lucky to
have the opportunity of a new career "when I
still feel there is plenty of drive left in me".
He will join Willoughby and
Partners, which specialises in patents and
designs, trademarks and copyright. Clients
include B&Q, Johnnie Walker Whisky and Cartier
"It is headed by lawyers I have
known and liked for years and for whom I have
the greatest admiration and respect," the judge
"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
Tony Willoughby, senior partner
of the niche practice Sir Hugh is joining as a
consultant, said that everyone there was
He would work on a near
full-time basis for no more money than he was
paid as a judge, despite the fact that he could
have earned much more by joining one of the
large City firms or practising as an independent
Friends said Sir Hugh had been
unhappy for some time. Before his promotion, he
had what he described as "nearly 25 years of
fun" at the Bar: "great cases and great clients
and the adrenaline rush of appearing in court".
On becoming a judge, the
adrenaline disappeared with the novelty. He no
longer found the work stimulating. "He told me
he was not looking forward to doing possibly 11
more years of the same thing," said Mr
Willoughby, a long-standing friend.
But Sir Hugh said that, despite
his departure, he was sure that many able
solicitors and barristers would continue to want
to join the Bench.
"If anything, my move may bring
home the message that taking a judicial
appointment is not a dead end," he said.
"That can only make the job