Tributes have been paid to the former President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, following his family’s announcement of his death.

A notice in The Times newspaper said he ‘died by his own hand on 17 February 2017’. It added: ‘After years of suffering, he was recently diagnosed with a rare dementia of the fronto-temporal lobe.’

The notice included a verse from Tennyson’s poem Tithonus: ‘The woods decay, the woods decay and fall. The vapours weep their burthen to the ground. Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath. And after many a summer dies the swan.’

His successor, Sir James Munby, said: ‘On and off the bench, and to the wide admiration of those who practise in family law, Sir Nicholas often spoke with passion, and in plain language, about the importance of family life, the good practice of family law, and the proper administration and resourcing of family justice.

‘He was appropriately outspoken about the plight of children caught up in the midst of parental conflict. He expressed his deep concern again and again about the impact of domestic abuse on children and on family life.

‘Sir Nicholas’ life was one of very great achievement and he has left us a formidable and enduring legacy.’

Sir Nicholas was called to the Bar in 1969, appointed a High Court Judge in 1993, to the Court of Appeal and Privy Council in 2004 and became President of the Family Division in 2010. He was 71.