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, up to three Non-Executive Board Members, the Head of Legal Services and the Head of Corporate Services.
The Legal Team Managers and Senior Parliamentary Counsel attend the Board in an advisory capacity.
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 Sarah Green
Professor Green was appointed as Law Commissioner for commercial and common law on 01 January 2020. She was previously Professor of Private Law at the University of Bristol. Prior to that, she was Professor of the Law of Obligations at the University of Oxford, and, before that, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham from 2001 – 2010.
Professor Green has written about a variety of issues including virtual currencies, blockchain issues surrounding intermediated securities, smart contracts, sale of goods law as applicable to digitised assets, and wage theft.
Professor Nicholas 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.
Professor Penney Lewis
Professor Lewis was appointed as Law Commissioner for criminal law on 01 January 2020. Professor Lewis was formerly Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics in the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London. She became Reader in Law in 2005, and Professor of Law in 2007.
Professor Lewis is a member of the Board of the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). Her research covers criminal evidence and procedure, focusing on prosecutions for historic childhood sexual abuse and the law governing corroborative and supporting evidence. She has also published widely in the field of medical law, with a particular interest in the relationship between the criminal law and medicine.
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.
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.
Non-Executive Board Members
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.
Joshua Rozenberg QC (Hon)
Joshua Rozenberg joined the Board in May 2019, and is a leading legal commentator and the only full-time journalist to have been appointed an honorary Queen’s Counsel.He writes a twice-monthly column for the Law Society Gazette and presents the Radio 4 programme Law in Action, which he launched in 1984. He is a former BBC legal correspondent and has also written for the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.
He has a law degree from the University of Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1976. He is an honorary Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn and holds four honorary doctorates in law.
Baroness Ruth Deech DBE QC (Hon)
Baroness Ruth Deech also joined the Law Commission in May 2019. Baroness Deech is an academic, lawyer, bioethicist and politician. She was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in 2005 and has been a member of a number of Parliamentary committees including the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee and the Communications Committee.
Before becoming a peer, Baroness Deech was chair of the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, a BBC Governor for four years, Gresham Professor of Law and was Chair of the Bar Standards Board from 2009 until 2015. She is a Bencher of the Inner Temple.
Baroness Deech studied law at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford to which she returned as a tutorial fellow in Law and then Principal of the College from 1991 until 2004.
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.