High Court Judges 2021

His Honour Judge Stephen Eyre QC

Born in the Black Country, Stephen grew up in Solihull. He attended the local independent school before studying Jurisprudence at Oxford University.

The first lawyer in his family, Stephen was called to the Bar in 1981. He practised from chambers in Birmingham throughout his career and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2015. Stephen specialised in commercial and property disputes and in insolvency law. He also acted as a mediator and sat as a Recorder and as a judge of the Mental Health Tribunal.

Appointed as a Circuit Judge in 2015, Stephen sat in the Crown Court in Birmingham, Leamington, and Wolverhampton and in 2016 was authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions. In 2017 he was appointed a Specialist Civil Circuit Judge sitting as a Technology and Construction Court judge in the Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

Stephen has been a judge in the Ecclesiastical Courts since 2009 and is currently Chancellor of the diocese of Lichfield.

Heather Williams QC

Heather is a barrister. She was born and brought up in Portsmouth. She studied law at King’s College London and was awarded the Scarman Scholarship for coming first in the Bar Vocational Course.

Called to the Bar in 1985 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006, Heather specialises in civil liberties, judicial review, employment and discrimination law and inquests.

She was appointed as a fee-paid Employment Judge in 2005, an Assistant Coroner in 2016 and both a Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2018. She is also a Chair of the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service and a qualified mediator. She is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.



Barry Cotter QC

Born and brought up in St Helens, Barry attended a local state school, before going on to study law at University College London.

Called to the Bar in 1985, he practised in general common law with a specialism in personal injury, product liability, health and safety, medical negligence and group actions. Barry was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2006. 

He was the author of a textbook on Product Liability and the general Editor of Munkman on Employer’s Liability.

Barry was appointed as a Recorder in 2002 and in 2010 was appointed a Designated Civil Judge (Devon and Cornwall) and authorised as a Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench Division and Administrative Court).

He was appointed a Senior Circuit Judge and Designated Civil Judge for Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire in 2017, and was authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division. He became a member of the Civil Justice Council in 2018. Barry is a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.

Andrew Ritchie QC

Andrew grew up in Dulwich, South London. After a law degree at Cambridge University, he qualified and worked as a solicitor.

Andrew qualified for the Bar in 1985 and went on to practise in personal injury and clinical negligence law for the whole of his career.

He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009; his practice then encompassed very serious brain and spinal injury cases, international terrorism inquests (for instance the In Amenas murders and the Sousse beach murders) and the subsequent multi-party civil claims.

Andrew was chair of the Personal Injuries Bar Association from 2014-2016. He is qualified as an arbitrator and a mediator, and he has written and edited a number of legal texts books including: “MIB Claims” (Lexis); “A Guide to RTA liability” (Lexis) and “Kemp & Kemp on Quantum” Vols 2-4 (Sweet & Maxwell).

Andrew was appointed to the High Court Bench in the autumn of 2021.

Edwin Johnson QC

Edwin is a barrister. He was born in Lincolnshire and grew up in Surrey. He studied law at Oxford University and was called to the Bar in 1987, where he specialised in all aspects of real property law.

Edwin was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2006. In 2017 he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge, sitting in the Business and Property Courts, and a Barrister Member of the Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service.



Tom Leech QC

Born in London and brought up in Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria, Tom went to the local state grammar school before studying Classics and then Law at Oxford University.

Tom trained as a barrister and practised at the Bar as a self-employed barrister for over twenty years before joining a major City law firm as a partner. He took Silk in 2010 and was appointed a s9(4) Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division in 2019. He was an elected member of the Bar Council and is a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.

At the Bar Tom had a broad property and company law practice and appeared in a number of offshore jurisdictions (including Bermuda where he spent three years) before going in-house where he developed a wider commercial practice including energy, insurance and international arbitration. Tom has a particular interest in professional indemnity work and co-writes a leading textbook on solicitors’ liabilities.



Joel Bennathan QC

Educated at a grammar school in Bristol and Queen Mary College London, Joel was the first lawyer in his family. Called to the Bar in 1985, Joel’s main professional area was criminal law, with a large element of appeal work. He also practised in extradition, professional disciplinary law, and judicial review and tort actions arising out of criminal litigation. For some years Joel prosecuted for the Bar Standards Board.

Joel was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006 and a Recorder in 2009. For several years he was a member of the Bar’s Race Relations Committee (later amalgamated into the Equality Committee) and is a visiting professor at London South Bank University. He co-authored a guide to criminal appeals and was a contributing editor to Taylor on Appeals.



Henrietta Hill QC

Henrietta grew up in Yorkshire and studied law at Cambridge University.  A Herchel Smith scholarship enabled her to spend a post-graduate year at Harvard University, where she focused on children’s rights.

She was called to the Bar in 1997 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2015.  She specialised in human rights, equality law, inquests, public inquires and claims against the police.  Her notable cases included the inquests into the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes and those who died as a result of the Hillsborough stadium disaster. From 2016 – 2021 she was counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

She was appointed as an Assistant Coroner in 2013, a Deputy High Court Master (Queens Bench Division) in 2015 and as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2021.



Sarah Mary Morgan QC

Sarah Morgan is a barrister.  The daughter of a teacher and a civil engineer, she was born in Wales. She spent some of her early childhood living on islands in the Caribbean before her family returned to the UK and settled in the Midlands, where she attended state schools. Sarah went on to study law at Brunel University, graduating in 1987.

She was called to the Bar in 1988; her practice was in Family Law specialising in all aspects of the law relating to children.

Sarah was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011, as a Recorder sitting in Crime and Family on the South Eastern circuit in 2009, and as a s9(4) Deputy High Court Judge in 2019.

Derek Sweeting QC

Derek grew up in North London and Essex where he attended local state schools. He studied law at Cambridge. He was called to the Bar in 1983. His first 15 years of practice were spent mainly in the Crown Court, mostly on the Midland Circuit, followed by a period where much of his work was more commercial, particularly in the Technology and Construction Court; in the last decade, clinical negligence, personal injury and the Iraqi Civilians’ litigation has been the focus.

He was appointed as Queen’s Counsel and as a Recorder in the Crown and County Courts in 2001.  In 2008 he was s9(1) authorised to sit in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. He was Chair of the Bar Council of England & Wales in 2021.



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