A former Alliance Party politician has been appointed as a new High Court judge for Northern Ireland.
Barrister Paul Maguire QC, who appeared as senior Crown Counsel in several high-profile cases, was sworn in at a ceremony in Belfast yesterday.
Mr Justice Maguire was called to the Bar in 1978 and, at first, combined his legal career with political work.
Thirty years ago, he was elected to one of the earlier incarnations of the Assembly as an Alliance Party representative for north Belfast. He then left politics to focus on the law, becoming Queen's Counsel in 2006.
His career has involved lecturing in public law at Queen's University, Belfast and serving as a part-time chairman of the Employment Tribunals.
In 2010, he was brought in to advise an inquiry into First Minister Peter Robinson's knowledge of the financial affairs of his wife, Iris.
Following his new appointment, Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice stressed the significance of the judicial role.
Addressing the swearing-in ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, Sir Declan Morgan said: “All judges have an important role to play in securing a professional and effective judicial service of outstanding quality for the benefit of the community as a whole. Judges are also part of this community and it is important not just that they play their role but that they are seen to do so. That is why I have taken the view that the appointment of senior judges should be acknowledged publicly as we are doing.”
He added that Mr Justice Maguire had a distinguished career at the Bar and as senior Crown Counsel. “He will be an invaluable and honourable addition to our High Court bench,” he said.