It was announced today that media specialist Mark Warby QC, of 5RB, has been appointed a Justice of the High Court, with effect from 10 June 2014. He has been assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and will replace Mr Justice Tugendhat who will retire on the same day.
Mark Warby is a noted defamation and privacy specialist as well as being a leading sports lawyer. He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1981 and took Silk in 2002. He was appointed a Recorder in 2009 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge. He edited the second edition of Tugendhat & Christie on The Law of Privacy and the Media.
There is also an announcement of the appointment on the 5RB website. Desmond Browne QC, 5RB’s joint Head of Chambers said:
“Naturally 5RB is tremendously proud that Mark Warby should have been chosen to step into the shoes of our former members, Mr Justice Gray and Mr Justice Tugendhat. The latter will be very much missed on his retirement. So it will not just be his colleagues in chambers but all media practitioners who will be delighted at the news that it is someone with Mark’s vast experience who will be wrestling with the mass of issues raised by the new Defamation Act.”
Although no formal announcement has been made, it appears that Mr Justice Warby will be one of the small group of specialist media judges who hear defamation and privacy cases in the High Court.
Mr Justice Tugendhat is presently the “Judge in Charge of the Jury List”, that is the senior media judge. It is not clear whether, following his retirement, a new judge will be appointed to this position following removal of the right to jury trial by section 11 of the Defamation Act 2013. At present, there are, in addition to Mr Justice Tugendhat, four other judges who regularly hear or have heard media cases: Mr Justice Bean, Mr Justice Nicola Davies, Mr Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Nicol.