Mr Justice Hickinbottom, admitted as a solicitor in 1981, is one of six new appointments announced today to the Court of Appeal.

He is one of only a handful of solicitor judges to make the grade and will be the only solicitor on the current bench. 

An announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office today said that the six, who include one woman, Mrs Justice Thirlwall, will fill vacancies in the Court of Appeal arising from this autumn. 

Sir Gary Hickinbottom (pictured) spent his early career at McKenna & Co, now part of international firm CMS Cameron McKenna. 

In 1994, he was appointed as a parking adjudicator and, in the same year, he became an assistant recorder. He became a recorder in 1998, a circuit judge in 2000 and a deputy High Court judge in 2001. He was made a bencher at Middle Temple in 2009.  

He was appointed as chief social security and child support commissioner in 2003, chief pension appeals commissioner in 2005, designated civil judge for Wales in 2007, and became the first president of the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in 2008. He has been a judge in Queen’s Bench Division since January 2009.

He follows in the footsteps of solicitor Lawrence Collins (Baron Collins of Mapesbury). Collins, who left Herbert Smith in 2000, was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2007 and to the Supreme Court in 2009. 

In a message of congratulations, Law Society president Robert Bourns said Hickinbottom’s appointment ‘is both a testimony to the great skill he brings to the bench, and an example of the huge contribution solicitors can make to the judiciary.

‘The Law Society works through our Solicitor Judges Division to support all solicitors considering the judicial roles as part of their legal career.  With 175,000 enrolled solicitors across England and Wales, the solicitor profession has no shortage of talented solicitors who should consider judicial appointment, bringing their skills, experience and diversity to our judiciary.’

The other judges appointed to the CoA today were Mr Justice Flaux, Mr Justice Henderson, Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Moylan.