Following an open competition for High Court judges launched in November 2017, the JAC received 52 applications and made 10 recommendations for appointment in April 2018. The exercise was open to practitioners with or without previous judicial experience.
Seven appointments have been announced so far and further appointments will be announced in coming months. Further information about the appointments is on the Judiciary website.
Johannah Cutts QC
Born in the Thames Valley, Johannah Cutts was awarded a government grant to attend St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon. She was the first in her family to attend university and to qualify as a lawyer. Called to the Bar in 1986, she practised in criminal law, specialising in cases involving vulnerable people. As a barrister, Johannah was instrumental in developing practice and procedure for cases of serious sexual assault involving the most vulnerable, including the very young and those with serious learning disabilities. She sat on the Advocacy Training Council working group leading to the 2011 report on the handling of vulnerable witnesses in court and ultimately to the toolkits in the advocates gateway used by criminal practitioners to assist in the questioning of such witnesses.
Johannah was appointed a Recorder in 2002 and a Queen’s Counsel in 2008. She was appointed a Circuit Judge in 2011, becoming Resident Judge first at Aylesbury and then Reading Crown Courts. She was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2014, sitting in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division. Johannah is a contributor to the book Rook and Ward on Sexual Offences and has lectured extensively to those involved in such cases. Johannah has also sat on a number of advisory judicial working groups and committees to assist with the HMCTS Reform programme.
Sarah Falk was born in London and educated at St Albans High School, with the aid of a full local authority grant. She went on to study law at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and later joined the law firm Freshfields. She qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and specialised in corporate tax, becoming a partner in 1994. Sarah has advised on the structuring and implementation of many high-profile corporate transactions across many sectors, including public and private mergers and acquisitions, demergers, initial public offerings, joint ventures and restructurings, both in the UK and internationally.
In 2015 Sarah was appointed a fee-paid deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber). She has since sat regularly in the First-tier Tax Tribunal as well as the Upper Tribunal while continuing to work in a consulting capacity at Freshfields. Sarah has been actively involved in training and mentoring for many years, promoting greater diversity and benefiting from flexible working when her family demands required it.
Judith Farbey QC
Judith Farbey grew up in London and studied classics at Magdalen College, Oxford. She obtained her Diploma in Law from City University and was called to the Bar in 1992. She is the first member of her family to be a lawyer. As a barrister Judith specialised in public law, particularly immigration law. She was the first winner of the Bar Pro Bono Award in 1997 for her work for refugees. Her clients have included individuals, educational institutions, businesses and government in immigration and other matters. Judith is a bencher of Middle Temple and has been a regular advocacy and ethics trainer for the Inn as well as serving on its Education and Training Committee. She was for many years a member of the Law Reform Committee of the Bar Council and has more recently served as a barrister member of the Bar Standards Board.
Judith was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 2011, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) in 2014 and as Recorder in 2016. Outside the Bar, Judith advised on parliamentary constituency boundaries for London as a Lead Assistant Boundary Commissioner 2011 to 2012. She is the joint author of The Law of Habeas Corpus (2011).
Edward Murray was born in Washington DC and educated at St Anselm's Abbey School. He studied philosophy at Trinity College Dublin and law at Harvard Law School. He began his career in 1985 in the New York office of Sidley & Austin, moving to London in 1987. He joined Allen & Overy in London in 1990 where he co-founded its Derivatives practice in 1991 and qualified as a solicitor in 1992. He was a partner of the firm from 1993 to 2013, spending 4 of those years in their Paris office. He was a consultant to Allen & Overy from 2013 to 2018. Edward’s practice focused on derivatives and structured finance, acting for ISDA and a number of leading financial institutions. He was involved for many years in financial law reform and was a member of the Financial Markets Law Committee from 2005 to 2013.
He was appointed a Recorder in 2009 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2013, sitting in the Chancery Division. He was a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London and a Visiting Lecturer at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II).
Edward Pepperall QC
Raised in Somerset, Ed Pepperall attended school in Bristol. He was the first in his family to attend University and the first to become a lawyer. Called to the Bar in 1989, his practice was in commercial law where he developed particular expertise in business sale disputes, the law of restraint of trade, confidentiality and commercial fraud. Ed was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013 and elected as a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 2015.
He was appointed as a Recorder in 2009 and as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016, sitting in both the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions and in the Technology and Construction Court. He is a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and was a member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee between 2010 and 2016.
While Ed has practised regularly in London, he has remained based in chambers at Birmingham throughout his career. He is Chairman of the Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association. He has been heavily involved in advocacy training for Lincoln’s Inn and on the Keble Advanced International Advocacy Course and since 2016 he has been a contributing editor of the White Book on Civil Procedure.
Jonathan Swift QC
Jonathan Swift grew up in Essex and was educated at Southend-on-Sea High School for Boys. He studied law at New College, Oxford and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1989, and called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 2008. Jonathan was elected a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2007. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010. He became a Recorder in 2011, and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016.
Throughout his career Jonathan was in chambers at 11 King’s Bench Walk. His work focused on employment law, data protection, and all aspects of public and administrative law. From 2007 to 2014 he was First Treasury Counsel, leading for the government on major cases across the whole field of government activity and public administration both in domestic courts, and in international courts and tribunals. He regularly argued cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, including the first appeal heard by the Supreme Court, in October 2009.
Until 2016 he was a consulting editor of Butterworths Local Government Reports. He has contributed to various works on public law and international law.
David Waksman QC
David Waksman was brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where he attended the Royal Grammar School. He studied law at Manchester University and then at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Called to the bar in 1982, he initially had a general common-law practice before specialising in commercial and banking law. He moved to Fountain Court Chambers in 1998 and became a Queen's Counsel in 2002. He sat as a Recorder from 2001 to 2005 and was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2005, hearing cases in specialist civil jurisdictions on the North Eastern circuit. He became a specialist Circuit judge in Manchester in 2007, sitting primarily in the Mercantile (now Circuit Commercial) Court, as well as in the Technology and Construction Court, and Chancery Division. He was one of the first judges to sit in the new regional Administrative Court. In Manchester David oversaw procedural pilot schemes on the use of concurrent expert evidence and costs budgeting.
In 2015, he transferred to the London Circuit Commercial Court as Judge in Charge and continued to sit in other jurisdictions as well, including the Planning and Commercial Courts. He is the Director of the Judicial College’s specialist jurisdictions course and has had a leading role in the training of judges at all levels. David has been involved in the development of the Business and Property Courts nationally since their inception.