Who we are
The Board of the Law Commission is responsible for its strategic governance. The Board consists of the Chair, four other Commissioners, the Chief Executive, and two Non-Executive Board Members.
The Chair is either a High Court or an Appeal Court judge, appointed to the Commission by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice for up to three years.
The other four Commissioners are experienced judges, barristers, solicitors or teachers of law. They are appointed by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice for up to five years, although their appointments may be extended.
Commissioners are appointed on a full-time basis, but may on occasions undertake other work including judicial training or judicial service.
One of the recommendations of the 2013 Triennial Review of the Law Commission was that the Commission would benefit from the introduction of up to two Non-Executive Board Members, who would provide support, independent challenge and expertise on issues of governance and strategic management.
The selection of projects and the content of Law Commission reports and consultation papers are, however, the responsibility of the Commissioners.
The Commissioners are supported by a Chief Executive and about 20 members of the Government Legal Service, two Parliamentary Counsel (who draft the Bills to reform and consolidate the law), and a number of research assistants, who are usually recently qualified law graduates.
The Chair promotes the role and work of the Law Commission and is its principal public face. He or she leads the Commissioners and represents their views to Ministers and other stakeholders. The Chair also leads on particular law reform projects and has special responsibility for overseeing the Commission’s consolidation and statute law repeals work.
Sir Nicholas Green
Sir Nicholas was appointed as Chair on 1 August 2018. Sir Nicholas is a former academic having lectured at the University of Southampton and the University of London. He was called to the Bar in 1986 and appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1998. He was made a judge of the High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2013 and in June 2018 it was announced he would be joining the Court of Appeal. Sir Nicholas has also previously served as Chairman of the Bar Council and the Advocacy Training Council.
Professor Nick Hopkins
Professor Hopkins was appointed as Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law on 1 October 2015. He has been researching and teaching property law for over 20 years. His publishing portfolio includes: co-author of the OUP’s leading land law textbook, Land Law: Text, Cases and Materials; case notes editor of The Conveyancer & Property Lawyer; and Chair of the editorial board of Modern Studies in Property Law. He has served as Convenor of the Property and Trusts Section of the Society of Legal Scholars and has twice received the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ award for Best Property Paper.
Professor Hopkins is Professor of Law at the University of Reading. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Mr Lewis was appointed as Law Commissioner for commercial and common law on 1 January 2015. He is an experienced city solicitor. For the last 10 years he has been a consultant at Clyde and Co, working within the firm’s international insurance and reinsurance group. He joined Clyde and Co after almost 20 years as a partner at leading “magic circle” practice Clifford Chance.
Mr Lewis has over 30 years’ experience working in litigation and dispute resolution and since 1983 has been primarily focusing on insurance and reinsurance. He has been a member of the Committee of the British Insurance Law Association since 1995 and was Chairman from 2010-12.
Professor David Ormerod QC
Professor Ormerod was appointed Law Commissioner for criminal law with effect from 1 September 2010. His re-appointment for a further period of five years, to run from 1 September 2015, was announced by the Lord Chancellor on 27 March 2015.
Professor Ormerod is Professor of Criminal Justice at University College London and a practising barrister and bencher at Middle Temple.
Nicholas Paines QC
Mr Paines was appointed as Law Commissioner with responsibility for public law on 18 November 2013. On 19 July 2018 he was reappointed for a further five years. He was formerly a leading silk in EU and public law. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and a Recorder in the Crown Court. He is also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.
Non-Executive Board Members
Sir David Bell joined the Commission in September 2015 as its first Non-Executive Board Member. Sir David’s extensive career has included many of England’s top education jobs. As well as being Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, he spent six years as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. He is currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, a post he has held since January 2012.
Bronwen Maddox joined the Commission in November 2016. In September 2016 she was appointed as the Director of the Institute for Government, an independent charity working to increase government effectiveness. For the previous five and a half years, she was editor and chief executive of Prospect Magazine. Previously, she was Chief Foreign Commentator, Foreign Editor, and US Editor and Washington Bureau Chief at the Times. Prior to her career as a journalist, she was an investment analyst in the City and on Wall Street.
Code of Best Practice for Law Commissioners
Our Commissioners follow a Code of Best Practice which incorporates the principles in the Cabinet Office Code of Best Practice for Board Members of Public Bodies.
In accordance with the Code, a Register of Commissioners’ Interests is available.
The Chief Executive is Phil Golding. He was appointed on 31 May 2016. Phil joined the then Lord Chancellor’s Department in 1994 and has progressed through the ranks via Ministerial Private Offices and various communications roles. He was Head of Corporate Services for the Law Commission in 2004-2005. Between 2008 and 2011 Phil served as Head of the Senior Presiding Judge’s office before moving to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to undertake a number of operational roles, including Cluster Manager for the London Crown Courts and Cluster Manager for Avon & Somerset and Gloucestershire. He joined the Law Commission from his role as HMCTS Head of Crime for the South West. He also sits as a Magistrate in Kent.
Structure of the Law Commission
This chart shows the structure of the organisation and the pay bands into which our staff fall.