Lord Reed was sworn in this morning as President of the UK Supreme Court, the first Scottish judge to hold the post since the creation of the court in 2009.
He has been awarded a peerage with his appointment and has taken the title Lord Reed of Allermuir.
Previously the Deputy President, Lord Reed succeeds Lady Hale, the first woman President, who achieved public prominence last year in particular by leading the court that ruled against the Prime Minister in holding illegal his request to the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks during the Brexit controversy.
Said to be more reserved in character than his predecessor, Lord Reed has the reputation of being extremely able and thorough in his approach. Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1983, he became the youngest ever judge appointed to the Court of Session bench when he joined it in 1998 at the age of 42. After serving as the principal Commercial and Companies Judge, he was appointed to the Inner House (the appeal divisions), where he sat from 2008 until his appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2012.
An author on human rights law, he is 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. He is also the High Steward of Oxford University, where he studied after taking his first degree at Edinburgh University.
Interviewed by the Journal in 2017, Lord Reed described sitting in the Supreme Court as “a different exercise” from hearing appeals in the Inner House, as the court has far fewer cases and has the resources to look at them in depth. Elsewhere he has compared the Inner House to “working the tills at Tesco”, in contrast to the Supreme Court which can give cases “the Rolls-Royce treatment”.
Following today’s installation, Gordon Jackson QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, commented: “While the Faculty of Advocates is immensely proud that one of our own has attained the most senior judicial position in the UK, Lord Reed’s appointment is an honour which can be celebrated by the entire Scottish legal profession and the country.
“Back in 1983, when Robert Reed joined the Scottish bar, he stood out as a very special legal talent, and only someone of such ability could have achieved the career he has enjoyed. Following Baroness Hale is a daunting task, but we are confident Lord Reed will prove to be the perfect fit.
“The Faculty was pleased to welcome Lord Reed and his colleagues when the Supreme Court sat in Edinburgh a couple of years back, and we would very much hope that he will be able to return ‘home’ as President of the court.”
Lord Hamblen, a newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, was also sworn in during the ceremony.