District Judge Trent, who sits at the Mayor’s and City of London Court and was formerly based at West London and Barnet County Courts, has been a full-time judge for 18 years. Curbs on justice expenditure, dilapidated courts and heavy staff turnover meant the system was “beginning to creak alarmingly”, he warned, with regular complaints of delays, mistakes and missing files.

He intends to press for legislation to make civil enforcement machinery more effective.  Describing current systems of enforcement as a “mess”, he said: “One of the great weaknesses of the court system is its failure effectively to enforce its own court orders.”  District Judge Paul Mildred, who sits at Bournemouth Combined Court Centre, has been elected senior vice-president, and District Judge Richard Chapman, who sits at Telford County Court, is the new junior vice-president.