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England top judge expected to head new UK Supreme Court

[JURIST] The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], will probably head the new UK Supreme Court when it opens in 2009, the Times reported Monday. The new top court, created by the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005 [text], will technically replace the judicial panel of the House of Lords [official website] as Britain's highest tribunal, with 12 law lords from the House of Lords as the first Supreme Court justices. Lord Phillips, who will probably replace senior law lord Baron Bingham of Cornhill [Wikipedia profile] when Bingham reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 in July 2008, will likely head the new judicial body. Three other law lords, Baron Hoffmann, Baron Scott of Foscote, and Baron Carswell, are also slated for mandatory retirement, leaving only eight law lords from the current judicial panel. The next senior law lord will be selected through a completely new process, which may include submitting an application and doing interviews.

The UK Supreme Court is intended to be more visible and transparent than the current house of Lords. In October, Lord Chancellor and UK Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw [official profile] recommended that certain proceedings of the court be televised, a move said to be supported by senior judges. The Times has more.

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