The new process for appointing the lord chief justice has come under fire after Downing Street confirmed the appointment of Sir John Thomas, a white, privately educated Cambridge graduate, to the post ahead of the widely tipped Lady Justice Hallett. In a letter to The Times, barrister and arbitrator Lord Hacking wrote that ‘many in the legal profession and outside’ are ‘dismayed’ by the process. He said: ‘For the first time in our history, the lord chief justice should have been a woman of the proven standing and ability of the one female candidate.’