'The judiciary is one of the oldest and most honourable branches of the service of the crown. It is also the most vital, because as the yearbooks tell us, the law is the highest inheritance of the king, for both he and all his subjects are ruled by it. And if there were no law there would be no king nor inheritance. That is as true today as it was five centuries ago. The attachment of our people to law is the foundation of our constitution and of our civilization.

'As the independent custodians of the law, the judges bear a direct and personal burden of responsibility, which makes their office a lonely and difficult one. We are fortunate that our judges are worthy inheritors of the great traditions of their predecessors.

'As our world becomes ever more complex, so the task of doing justice between man and man, and between man and state, becomes ever more difficult, and even more important. Therefore we must continue to rely on the strong and fearless legal profession. The bar’s independence is as much a safeguard to our liberty today as it has been in the past.

'I welcome the completion of the new court building. I am glad, my lord chancellor, to grant your request that it be called The Queen’s Building. I know that my judges, and all those who assist them so devotedly, will administer to justice there in accordance with the finest traditions of their calling.'