Brian Leveson

Brian Leveson

The Right Honourable
Sir Brian Leveson
President of the Queen's Bench Division
Assumed office
1 October 2013
Deputy Dame Heather Hallett
Preceded by Sir John Thomas
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
2 October 2006 – 1 October 2013
Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales
In office
1 January 2007 – 31 December 2009
Deputy Lord Justice Goldring
Preceded by Lord Justice Thomas
Succeeded by Lord Justice Goldring
5th Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University
Taking office
20 May 2013
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nigel Weatherill
Succeeding Brian May, CBE
Personal details
Born Brian Henry Leveson
(1949-06-22) 22 June 1949
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Lynne née Fishel
Children 3
Residence London
Alma mater Liverpool College
Merton College, Oxford
Occupation Judge
Profession Barrister
Religion Orthodox Judaism

Sir Brian Henry Leveson[1] (; born 22 June 1949) is an English judge, currently the President of the Queen's Bench Division.

Leveson chaired the public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, prompted by the News of the World phone hacking affair.[2][3]

Early life

Leveson was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, on 22 June 1949.[4] He was educated at Liverpool College, a public school in Mossley Hill, Liverpool. He studied at Merton College, Oxford.[5]

Legal career

Leveson was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1970. He initially practised in Liverpool and took silk in 1986.[6] Leveson became a bencher in 1995,[6] acted as a Recorder between 1988 and 2000, and as a Deputy High Court Judge between 1998 and 2000.[6] In 2000, Leveson was appointed as a Judge of the High Court, Queen's Bench Division, and served as a Presiding Judge of the Northern Circuit between 2002–2005.[6]

Leveson was the lead prosecution counsel during the trial of Rosemary West, who went on to be convicted for the murders of ten young women, including her own eldest daughter, in November 1995.[7] While sitting with Lord Justice Mantell[8] in the Court of Appeal in 2002 under the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, he upheld the murder conviction of James Hanratty.[9] He also presided over the trial of ex-US Marine Toby Studebaker for charges relating to child grooming over the internet.[10] He sentenced 100-year-old Bernard Heginbotham, who was found guilty of manslaughter of his wife of 67 years, 87-year-old Ida, to a 12 month rehabilitation order.[11] He also presided over the trial of Michael Barton, who was found guilty in 2005 of murdering Anthony Walker with an axe.[3]

Insignia of Knight Bachelor

In 2006, Leveson was appointed to the new position of Deputy Senior Presiding Judge[6] and, on 2 October 2006, he was appointed a Jill Dando.[13] He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2000 and sworn as a Privy Counsellor in 2006. On 1 October 2013, Leveson was appointed President of the Queen's Bench Division, succeeding Sir John Thomas. [14]

Press ethics inquiry

It was announced on 13 July 2011 that Leveson would lead the public inquiry into issues of British press culture, practices and ethics raised by the News International phone hacking scandal.[2] On 20 July, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the scope of the inquiry had widened to include the BBC and social media.[15][16]

The hearings began on Monday 14 November 2011.[17] The full report was published on 29 November 2012[18] and is available online.[19]

Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University

On 14 March 2013 it was announced Sir Brian Leveson would be the next Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, taking over from Brian May who will step down at the end of his term in March. An official inauguration ceremony is set to take place in May at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.[20][21]

Personal life

Leveson and his wife Lynne (daughter of Aubrey Fishel also from Liverpool) are Jewish.[7][22] The couple have three children and live in Hampstead Garden Suburb.[23]


  1. ^ Leveson, Brian. "Opening remarks". Leveson Inquiry: About the Inquiry. Leveson Inquiry. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Phone hacking: Prime minister reveals inquiry powers BBC News, 13 July 2011
  3. ^ a b Binham, Caroline (13 July 2011). "Leveson seen as ‘steady pair of hands’". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 July 2011. (subscription required)
  4. ^ "The Rt Hon Lord Justice Leveson". Debretts. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Preview Family Record - Leveson". Burkes Peerage. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Lord Justice Leveson appointed as Chairman of the Sentencing Council Sentencing Council, 16 March 2010
  7. ^ a b Bennett, Will (4 October 1995). "Media frenzy as Rosemary West faces murder jury". The Independent (London). Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "Sir Charles Mantell". The Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Hanratty conviction upheld". The Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 10 May 2002. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Press Association (2 April 2004). "US marine jailed for abducting internet girl". Times Online. Retrieved 17 July 2011. (subscription required)
  11. ^ "Wife killer, 100, spared prison". BBC News. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58116. p. 13573. 5 October 2006.
  13. ^ "George vs R. EWCA Crim 2722". British and Irish Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 14 December 2007. 
  14. ^ "Appointment of the President of the Queen’s Bench Division".  
  15. ^ Wintour, Patrick (20 July 2011). "David Cameron widens inquiry on media regulation to include the BBC". (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Phone hacking: Cameron widens remit of Leveson probe". BBC News. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Background". Leveson Inquiry front page. The Leveson Inquiry. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  18. ^ BBC News - Leveson report: New body to curb press 'havoc'. (1 January 1970).
  19. ^
  20. ^ Hornby, Mike (14 March 2013). "Leveson named chancellor of Liverpool John Moores". The Independent (London). 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Lord Justice Leveson to lead phonehacking inquiry". The Jewish Chronicle. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  23. ^ Weston, Alan (14 July 2011). "Liverpool-born judge Lord Justice Brian Leveson to lead inquiry into phone hacking scandal". Liverpool Echo (Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales). Retrieved 25 July 2011. 

External links

  • The Rt Hon Lord Justice Leveson
  • Council members Sentencing Council
  • Lord Justice Leveson - Speeches Judiciary of England and Wales
  • Brian Leveson collected news and commentary at The Guardian
  • Brian Leveson Brian Leveson, collected news and commentary, The Independent