Following this week’s announcement that Sir Andrew McFarlane, a Court of Appeal judge, is to succeed Sir James Munby as president of the family division in July, one Gazette commenter said: 'Very big boots to fill!'
Munby has garnered many fans over the years - including myself - for his outspoken views. He's advised local authorities to think long and hard before embarking on child care proceedings against 'otherwise unimpeachable' parents and berated the government for 'remaining unwilling or unable' to say when it will reintroduce legislation to prevent alleged perpetrators of domestic abuse from cross-examining alleged victims in court. The list goes on.
McFarlane has already shown he's not afraid to say what he thinks. Watching him chat to people at an event to mark the Legal Aid Practitioners Group's second annual review last night suggests he will garner just as many fans as the outgoing president.
Speaking to me after the event, McFarlane said: 'In my professional career as a barrister I was largely a legal aid practitioner. I've been a big supporter of the LAPG and [the group's] Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards ever since I became a judge 13 years ago. It is crucial that legal aid practitioners have and support the LAPG because that provides a central resource to support them and to speak up collectively in legal aid practitioners' interests.'
I can already hear McFarlane's fanbase growing.