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'Recorder of Southwark' title for senior Inner London Crown Court judge

The senior resident judge at Inner London Crown Court is to be given the title 'Honorary Recorder of Southwark' - entitling him to wear red robes in court and be addressed as 'My Lord'.

The appointment was agreed by Southwark councillors at this week's council assembly meeting.

Many councils appoint the resident judge at their local crown court to be honorary recorder of the city or borough during their tenure of office.

Historically, a recorder was appointed by the mayor and aldermen of a borough to 'record' the proceedings of their courts and the customs of the city. Until 1971 certain cities were given the right to appoint a distinguished barrister as their senior judge.

The Courts Act 1971 gave borough councils the right to appoint an honorary recorder to continue the historic link between civic authorities and their local criminal court.

His Honour Judge Roger Chapple has been senior resident judge at Inner London Crown Court in Newington Causeway since 2007.

Honorary recorders who are also senior circuit judges are entitled to wear red robes in court and be addressed as 'My Lord' instead of 'Your Honour'.

The appointment of HHJ Chapple as Recorder of Southwark will be formally recognised at a future civic ceremony.

A report prepared for this week's council assembly meeting says that the local authority is not expected to incur additional expenditure in relation to the appointment.

Changes to the courts service mean that honorary recorders appointed a local authority don't necessary sit in courtrooms within the boundaries of that city or borough.

His Honour Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, who retired this year as senior judge at Southwark Crown Court, was given the title Recorder of Westminster in 2008 after the work of Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court was transferred to the courts complex near London Bridge.

The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Peter Beaumont QC, also holds the title High Steward of Southwark and visits the Borough once a year to preside at sittings of three traditional Courts Leet.

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