Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

Lord Thomas read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (graduating in 1969) and then at the University of Chicago Law School as a Commonwealth Fellow (graduating in 1970 with a J.D).  Lord Thomas was called to the Bar in 1969 (Gray’s Inn, of which he became a Bencher in 1992). He commenced practice in commercial law at what is now Essex Court Chambers in 1972. In 1984 he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel and in 1987 a Recorder.

In 1992 he was appointed by the Department of Trade to inquire into the affairs of Mirror Group Newspapers when owned by Mr Robert Maxwell and its IPO.

In 1996, he was appointed to the High Court Judge as a judge of the Commercial Court; he was judge in charge in 2002-3. In 2003, he became a Lord Justice of Appeal. He was Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales from 2003 to 2006.  In 2008, he was appointed Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division and, in 2011 President of the Queen’s Bench Division. In 2013 he was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and was created a life peer, as Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. He retired as Lord Chief Justice in October 2017.

He was President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from 2008 to 2010, having participated in its founding in 2003/4.

Between December 2017 and October 2019, he was Chairman of the Commission on Justice in Wales, tasked by the Welsh Government with examining the delivery of justice, legal services and legal education in Wales and issues relating to devolution. Its report, Justice in Wales for the People of Wales, was published in October 2019.

He was the Law Foundation of New Zealand Distinguished Fellow in 2019; his lectures examined the effect of the digital revolution on the law, the courts, legal practice, and legal education.

Current Positions

  • President of the Qatar International Court
  • Arbitrator
  • Chairman of the Financial Markets Law Committee, a body established for the advancement of the understanding of financial markets law and promoting a sound legal and regulatory structure.
  • First Vice President of the European Law Institute (ELI), based in Vienna. He was a Founding Fellow of ELI which provides draft model laws, comments on EU legislative proposals and gives practical guidance in the field of European and EU legal development. He jointly chairs a project with the American Law Institute on Principles for a Data Economy – data rights and transactions.
  • Member of the House of Lords, UK Parliament; EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee
  • Chancellor of Aberystwyth University


  • President of ARIAS (UK) (the AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society) of which he was a founder in 1991.
  • Vice-President of the London Shipping Law Centre, Past President of the British Insurance Law Association, a Vice-President of the British Maritime Law Association
  • Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Bangor, and Honorary Doctor of Law of the Universities of Wales, South Wales, the West of England and Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
  • Founding Member and Patron of the International Law Book Facility