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Scots judge takes over as Supreme Court president

Lord Reed has been sworn in as the new head of the UK's highest court, succeeding Lady Hale.

Lord Reed new Supreme Court president.
Lord Reed: In 1998 he became Scotland's youngest ever judge. Supreme Court

Scottish judge Lord Reed has been sworn in as the new president of the Supreme Court.

The 63-year-old swore his oath as the court’s president in a ceremony on Monday, replacing Lady Hale who officially retired last week.

The ceremony was held at the court in London’s Parliament Square and was attended by leading members of the judiciary and the legal profession.

Lord Reed previously served as the court’s deputy president under Lady Hale and has been one of its 12 justices since 2012.

He is the first Scot to serve in the role of president since the Supreme Court was established in 2009.

His appointment was made by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, following the recommendations of independent selection commissions.

In a statement in July after his appointment was first announced, Lord Reed said: “It is a great honour to succeed Lady Hale as president of the Supreme Court.

“In this year when we are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the court, I reflect on the achievements of the distinguished presidents who have come before me.

“I am privileged to follow them in working with my colleagues to maintain the fundamental role which the Supreme Court plays in the law of our country.

“As president, I will continue to champion the rule of law, alongside promoting public understanding of the role of the judiciary and maintaining the high regard in which the court is held around the world.”

His predecessor, Lady Hale, is best known for delivering the historic ruling last September that Boris Johnson’s attempted prorogation of parliament was illegal.

Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Lord Reed became Scotland’s youngest ever judge in 1998, aged 42, serving in the Outer House of the Court of Session as principal commercial and companies judge for ten years.

He then sat in the court’s Inner House from 2008 to 2012.

Born Robert John Reed in Edinburgh in 1956, he went to school in the city’s George Watson College before studying law at Edinburgh University and later Oxford.

He qualified as an advocate in Scotland and as a barrister in England and Wales and practised at the Scottish Bar in a wide range of civil cases as well as prosecuting serious crime.

Lord Reed is also a member of the panel of ad hoc judges of the European Court of Human Rights, and a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

Lord Hamblen, who has been appointed a Supreme Court Justice, will also be sworn in during the ceremony.

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