Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls: “I have heard him deliver dozens of speeches of welcome and valediction to judges and Lord Justices of Appeal. They have all been little short of miniature works of art, each marvellously crafted and carefully tailored to the honour and the occasion, expressed with clarity, warmth and wit. He always finds something charming to say. Even in those cases where that may be a bit of a struggle and the evidence is a little thin, you would never know it.

“As a student of his speeches, I have noticed that a recurring motif is his love of the Circuits. When welcoming a new judge from a specialist field (usually of a commercial nature), he takes obvious delight in saying that he is just a Circuit hack. He is justly proud of his Circuit roots. But hack? All I can say is that he is the finest Circuit hack of his generation. What he means, of course, is that he is an all-rounder, who has bags of common sense, and not one of those specialists whose feet are not always on the ground and who produce overlong, over-complicated and sometimes incomprehensible judgments. With characteristic modesty, he also greatly underestimates his ability as a lawyer. He has made major contributions to the development of our law in many areas, particularly, of course in the area of criminal law.

“[H]e is one of our greatest Chief Justices…He has been responsible for leading the judiciary of England and Wales during a period of unprecedented difficulties and challenges. The government likes to portray challenges as opportunities. The problem of keeping the morale of the judiciary up in the eye of the pensions storm was a very odd kind of opportunity. Igor felt this very keenly. He battled long and hard to negotiate the best deal that he could with the government. He was disappointed with the outcome. But nobody could have done better. Such has been his dedication to the judiciary that, over a two-week period, he went round the country speaking to the judges and giving them an account of what he had done. I attended one of these speeches. At the end, those who were present were so grateful to him for what he had done, that a good deal of the sting of their anger had been drawn. That was precisely what he intended. Igor has never lost his art as advocate.”

Attorney General, Dominic Grieve MP QC: “In a recent speech you gave at Temple Church about Magna Carta you recalled William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, and adviser to three kings and guardian of a fourth. You described him as a “rare creature, trusted for his integrity by the Barons as well as by the King”. Speaking from my perspective as Attorney General, you have been one of those rare individuals – a judge trusted by both the legal profession and government – no mean feat.

“Although I am sure that you have at times been tried to the limit by the actions of the executive and of the legislature, you have always maintained your patience and integrity and dealt with outward equanimity and firm fairness with whatever has been thrown at you. You have ensured, in difficult times for the justice system, that the judiciary’s independence has been maintained from the other pillars of our constitution, while never allowing independence to turn into isolationism. You as Lord Chief Justice and head of the judiciary have shown the same qualities as William Marshall. I look forward to your Lordship continuing this good work in the House of Lords.”

Bar Chairman, Maura McGowan QC: “The Bar will have very mixed feelings on the retirement of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge. His extraordinary wisdom has caused many of us to leave this court marvelling at his insight into a case and our own frailty by comparison. We have consoled ourselves in the comfort of thinking, ‘he’s only a judge’. His kindness and humanity have left us embarrassed and humbled, again to take refuge in thinking, ‘he’s only a judge’…

“[In March, at the conference of Commonwealth Lawyers in Cape Town], as a white Lord, he addressed a predominantly black, male African audience on apartheid and its consequences, especially for women. He commanded their attention and respect... I suddenly realised with clarity, he is not just a judge. He is also an advocate... His speech in Cape Town was predicated upon the proposition that we are all equal before the law. That, of course is right. But his time as a judge has demonstrated to all that we are not all equal in the law.” (See also Chairman’s Column, p5.)