Long-serving Lambeth registrar and district judge Richard Jacey has died aged 71.

He was appointed in 1981, the day after his 37th birthday. At that time it was more unusual for a solicitor - and one so young - to be selected to serve on the bench.

Jacey began his career articled to Peter Lake of Lake & Parry at 1 Pall Mall. After qualifying he specialised in litigation and was with the firm for over 20 years.

During this time he was the instructing solicitor in a ground-breaking case alleging negligence during a surgical operation. 

While still working at Lake Parry & Treadwell, he applied to the lord chancellor to sit as a part-time registrar in county courts for one or two days a week. He settled in quickly and said he found this new aspect of the law both interesting and satisfying.

Then, with encouragement from the Lambeth circuit judges, he applied again to be appointed as a full-time county court registrar.

During one of the interviews he was asked what he would be doing on Saturday. ‘I shall be in Sutton High Street,’ he said, ‘raising money for a Round Table charity, dressed as a frog.’

He was appointed to sit full time at Lambeth and he remained in that post until the end of the decade when the senior registrar retired. He succeeded him and became the registrar of Lambeth County Court and was in charge of that court for the rest of his career.

His title was subsequently changed to that of district judge, but that neither affected his status, nor his work, although the passage of time did bring considerable increases in the range of work that he and other district judges carried out.

During his career he served two years as president of the district judges association and, when he retired in 2010, he had served just under 29 years on the bench.

Colleagues past and present have said that his reputation as a judge was a good one. He was a sound lawyer, but above all he had the quality of conscientiousness, which he successfully applied to the hearing and deciding of cases brought before him.

Outside the courtroom, he liked to keep in touch with the staff, and he was always willing to talk something over with a fellow judge. He continually had in mind not only that the dignity of the court should be maintained, but also that the court was there for people to access and use.

Richard Jacey, county court registrar and district judge, was born on 31 May 1944. He died on October 4, 2015, aged 71.

Patricia Daubney