Guernsey Press

First Judge of the Royal Court retires from role

THE first Judge of the Royal Court has retired from the role – though he will still preside over cases.

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Judge Russell Finch retires as Judge of the Royal Court though he will be sitting in as a judge on a part time basis. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 27182535)

Russell Finch was appointed to the position under changes made to the court system in 2005.

Judges generally retire at 65 unless special permission is given but the maximum age is 70 and Judge Finch reached that last Saturday. [15 Feb]

‘I think it’s a good time to go and I would have gone earlier had my wife not been bed-bound,’ he said.

He said his main wish for retirement was to live as long as possible but said that would not be down to him.

‘I try to keep myself as fit as possible and I see quite a few people of my age who are not as fit as me,’ he said.

He will still be presiding over Guernsey courts. He has taken the oath as a Lt-Bailiff and a deputy judge of the Magistrate’s Court. The question of how part-time his new role is will depend on the court calendar but he said he was already extensively booked up for the summer.

Judge Finch attended the Southern Grammar School for Boys in his native Portsmouth before reading law at Queen Mary College at the University of London.

He was a clerk to courts in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire before becoming a solicitor of the Supreme Court in 1974. He joined the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in London in 1979, dealing with serious cases in both England and Wales, including 50 murders.

He moved to Guernsey in 1988 when he met his wife, Anne. He was admitted as an advocate of the Royal Court in 1993 and became a Crown Advocate the following year. He was appointed a Magistrate in 1997 and Lt-Bailiff to the Royal Court in 2001.

In The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2017, he was awarded the MBE for his services to the local judiciary.

Judge Finch is a keen historian and undertook an Open University course, being awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1996 and a Master of Arts at Sheffield Hallam University in 2004, specialising in modern British history.

He became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 1999.

He has for many years been a member of the Guernsey chess team and is a former vice-president of the English Chess Federation.