Terence Etherton, Baron Etherton


Terence Michael Elkan Barnet Etherton, Baron Etherton, Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, PC (born 21 June 1951) is a British retired judge and member of the House of Lords. He was the Master of the Rolls, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice from 2016 to 2021 and Chancellor of the High Court from 2013 to 2016.

Early life

Etherton attended Holmewood House School and St Paul's School (London), St Paul's School, and studied history and law at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was a member of the British fencing team (sabre) from 1977 to 1980 and was selected to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but joined the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, boycott in protest against the Soviet–Afghan War, 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Legal career

Etherton was called to the bar (Gray's Inn) in 1974 and became a Queen's Counsel in 1990. He was appointed a High Court judge (England and Wales), High Court judge on 11 January 2001 and assigned to the Chancery Division, receiving the customary Knight Bachelor, knighthood. In August 2006, he was appointed Chairman of the Law Commission (England and Wales), Law Commission, the statutory independent body created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law under review and to recommend reform where needed. On 29 September 2008, on expansion of the Court of Appeal from 37 to 38 judges, Etherton was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal. He was sworn in on 29 September 2008, and received the customary appointment to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Privy Council. On 11 January 2013, he was appointed Chancellor of the High Court. On 3 October 2016, Etherton succeeded John Dyson, Lord Dyson, Lord Dyson as Master of the Rolls. In October 2016 Etherton was one of the three judges forming the Divisional court (England and Wales), divisional court of the High Court in proceedings concerning the use of the royal prerogative for the issue of notification in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (the Lisbon Treaty) (R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, ''Santos and Miller, Applicants -v- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Respondent''). His role in this judgment meant that he appeared in an infamous front-cover of the ''Daily Mail'' (''Enemies of the People (headline), Enemies of the People''), and in a move which was widely seen as homophobia, attacking his homosexuality, the Mail Online chastised Etherton for being an "openly-gay ex-Olympic fencer". The reference was swiftly removed, though without apology. In June 2019, Etherton, Stephen Irwin (judge), Sir Stephen Irwin and Rabinder Singh (judge), Sir Rabinder Singh found that ministers had breached British law when they "made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi Arabia, Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so."


Non-Executive Director Riverside Mental Health Trust (1992-1999), Chairman of Broadmoor Hospital (1999-2001) and Chairman of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2000-2001). Installed as an honorary fellow of Royal Holloway College, University of London (2005) Honorary fellow since 2007 of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. President of the Nicholas Bacon Society, Corpus Christi's law society, from 2001 to 2013. In January 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by City University London, City University, London. President of the Council of the four Inns of Court (COIC) for a three-year term (2009-2012). Honorary Professor at the University of Kent since 2011. In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Kent. Honorary President of the Property Bar Association and the Chairman of The Trust Law Committee (2012 - 2021). Visiting Professor of Law at Birkbeck, University of London since 2010 and lectured on subjects including diversity in the judiciary and equity and trusts on the Birkbeck, University of London LLB and LLM Qualifying Law Degrees. He is also Patron of the Birkbeck Law Review. Senior Warden at West London Synagogue. (3-year appointment, 2013 - 2016). Chairman of the Civil Justice Council (2016- 2021). Chairman of the Advisory Council on the National Archives and Records (2016-2021). Honorary Member of the Society of Legal Scholars (2017). Honorary Fellowship of Birkbeck, University of London (4 November 2019-) In September 2021 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Plymouth.

Personal life

Etherton entered a Civil partnership in the United Kingdom, civil partnership in 2006. On his appointment as Lord Justice of Appeal in 2008, he said, "My appointment also shows that diversity in sexuality is not a bar to preferment up to the highest levels of the judiciary". On 10 December 2014, pursuant to legislation allowing couples in civil partnerships to convert the relationship to marriage, Etherton and his civil partner Andrew Stone were married in a Reform Judaism wedding ceremony at West London Synagogue. In December 2020, it was announced that Etherton would be created a crossbench life peer in the 2020 Political Honours, 2020 Political Peerages. On 23 December 2020, he was created Baron Etherton, of Marylebone in the City of Westminster.

Notes and references

{{DEFAULTSORT:Etherton, Terence 1951 births Living people People educated at Holmewood House School People educated at St Paul's School, London Alumni of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge British male sabre fencers Chancery Division judges Crossbench life peers Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Gay sportsmen Knights Bachelor LGBT Jews LGBT judges LGBT life peers LGBT people from England Lords Justices of Appeal Masters of the Rolls Members of Gray's Inn Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom LGBT sportspeople from England LGBT fencers Jewish male sabre fencers Life peers created by Elizabeth II