Sir Brian Henry Leveson

English: Igor Judge, appointed Lord Chief Just...

English: Igor Judge, appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in 2008, but at the time of this photograph he was President of the Queen’s Bench Division (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sir Brian Henry Leveson QC (pronounced /ˈlɛvɨsən/; born 22 June 1949), is an English Judge, a Lord Justice of Appeal for England and Wales and, since 2010, head of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.

It was announced on 13 July 2011 that Lord Justice Leveson would lead the Leveson Inquiry, a public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, prompted by the News of the World phone hacking affair.

Born in Liverpool, Leveson was educated at Liverpool College, before going on to Merton College, Oxford.[6]


Richard Everard Webster, 1st Viscount Alversto...

Richard Everard Webster, 1st Viscount Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leveson was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1970. He initially practised in Liverpool and took silk in 1986.[3] Leveson became a Bencher in 1995,[3] acted as a Recorder between 1988 and 2000, and as a Deputy High Court Judge between 1998 and 2000.[3] 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.[3]

While sitting with Lord Justice Mantell[7] in the Court of Appeal in 2002 under the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, he upheld the murder conviction of James Hanratty.[8] He also presided over the trial of ex-US Marine Toby Studebaker for charges relating to child grooming over the internet.[9] He refused to imprison 100-year-old Bernard Heginbotham, who was found guilty of euthanasia on his wife of 67 years, 87-year-old Ida, because she faced spending the remainder of her life in the dementia ward of a nursing home.[10] He also presided over the trial of Michael Barton, who was found guilty in 2005 of murdering Anthony Walker with an axe.

Caricature of Sir Alexander Cockburn, 12th Bar...

Caricature of Sir Alexander Cockburn, 12th Baronet. Caption read „The Lord Chief Justice of England“. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2005, Leveson was appointed to the new position of Deputy Senior Presiding Judge and, in October 2006, he was made a Lord Justice of Appeal.[3] In November 2007, the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, constituted by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Leveson and Mr Justice Simon, quashed the conviction of Barry George and ordered a retrial in relation to the murder in 2001 of BBC presenter Jill Dando.[11] He was also appointed a Privy Counsellor in 2006.

Public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press

Main article: Leveson Inquiry
England football fan

England football fan (Photo credit: ixtlan)

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.[4] On 20 July, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the scope of the inquiry had widened to include the BBC and social media.[12][13]

It was subsequently reported in the media that Leveson had attended two parties in the prior 12 months at the London home of Matthew Freud, a PR executive married to Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch.[14][15] These revelations led to a number of Labour MPs calling for Leveson to be removed from the Inquiry.[16][17] These were two large evening events attended in Leveson’s capacity as Chairman of the Sentencing Council, and with the knowledge of the Lord Chief Justice.[18] The context of these events is fully described in Leveson’s declaration on the inquiry website.[18]

Personal life

A portrait of Lord Granville Leveson-Gower (la...

A portrait of Lord Granville Leveson-Gower (later 1st Earl Granville) at the time of his mission to . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leveson and his wife Lynne, who is also from Liverpool, are devout Jews.[19][20] The couple have three children and live in London.[21]


  1. ^ Leveson, Brian. „Opening remarks“. Leveson Inquiry: About the Inquiry. Leveson Inquiry. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  2. ^ „The Rt Hon Lord Justice Leveson“. Debretts. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lord Justice Leveson appointed as Chairman of the Sentencing Council, 16 March 2010, Sentencing Council press release
  4. ^ a b Phone hacking: Prime minister reveals inquiry powers 13 July 2010, BBC News
  5. ^ a b Binham, Caroline (13 July 2011). „Leveson seen as ‘steady pair of hands’“. Financial Times. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ „Burke’s Peerage – Preview Family Record“. Burkes Peerage. 22 June 1949. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  7. ^ „Sir Charles Mantell“. Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  8. ^ 10:51 am BST 10 May 2002 (10 May 2002). „Hanratty conviction upheld“. Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  9. ^ PA News (2 April 2004). „US marine jailed for abducting internet girl“. The Times. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  10. ^ „UK | England | Lancashire | Wife killer, 100, spared prison“. BBC News. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  11. ^ „George vs R. EWCA Crim 2722“. British and Irish Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  12. ^ „David Cameron widens inquiry on media regulation to include the BBC“. The Guardian (UK). 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  13. ^ „Phone hacking: Cameron widens remit of Leveson probe“. BBC News. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  14. ^ „Phone hacking inquiry judge attended parties at home of Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law“. The Telegraph. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  15. ^ „MP calls for police to investigate Murdoch son over crucial email“. London Evening Standard (UK). 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  16. ^ „Miliband mulls MPs‘ demands to remove hacking-inquiry judge“. The Independent. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  17. ^ „Inquiry judge has links to Murdochs“. Press TV. 23 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^ „Media frenzy as Rosemary West faces murder jury“. The Independent (UK). 4 October 1995. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  20. ^ „Lord Justice Leveson to lead phonehacking inquiry“. The Jewish Chronicle. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  21. ^ Weston, Alan. „Liverpool-born judge Lord Justice Brian Leveson to lead inquiry into phone hacking scandal – Liverpool Local News – News“. Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 25 July 2011.

External links

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