Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd appointed University Chancellor

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

18 May 2017

The Right Honourable Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd has been appointed the next Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Lord Thomas will take up the position in January 2018 and succeeds the current Chancellor Sir Emyr Jones Parry who steps down in December 2017 after serving a full ten years.

Lord Thomas is currently Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and President of the Courts of England and Wales, but will retire from the judiciary on 1 October 2017.

He was made an Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University in 2002 and is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said: “Aberystwyth was the first University College in Wales when it opened in 1872. We take pride in its academic achievements and its contribution to Welsh society and to the wider world. I am delighted to be taking on the role of Chancellor next year and look forward to playing my part in the continued success of this historic University.”

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “Lord Thomas has risen to the heights of the judiciary in Wales and England, and commands huge respect. His achievements are an inspiration to us all, particularly our students as they embark on their journey towards greater knowledge and successful careers.

“We are honoured that Lord Thomas will be taking on the role of Chancellor of this very special University as we approach our landmark 150th anniversary in 2022. He follows in the footsteps of Sir Emyr Jones Parry who has been Chancellor here since 2007 and to whom we owe a big debt of gratitude.” 

The honorary role of Chancellor centres on ambassadorial and ceremonial duties, including presiding over the University’s annual graduation ceremonies.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry currently holds the role of Chancellor and the Chair of Council at Aberystwyth University. These two positions are now being split and a separate process has begun to recruit a new Chair of Council to start in January 2018.


Born in Carmarthen, Roger John Laugharne Thomas grew up in a Welsh-speaking family in Ystradgynlais.

He read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and became a Commonwealth Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.

He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969 and became a Bencher at the Inn in 1992. He practised at the Commercial Bar in London from 1971 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1984. 

Lord Thomas was appointed a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales in 1996 and was assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and to the Commercial Court. 

From 1998-2001 he was one of the Presiding Judges of the Wales and Chester Circuit. He was Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court in London from April 2002 to July 2003, when he was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal. 

He was the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales from 2003 to 2006, Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division (2008-2011) and President of the Queen’s Bench Division (2011-2013). He has been Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales since 2013.

He was President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (2008-2010) and is a founder member of the European Law Institute.

Lord Thomas is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff University and Swansea University and an Honorary Doctor of Law of Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales, the University of Wales and the University of the West of England.

He is President of the Wales Public Law and Human Rights Association, Wales Commercial Law Association and the Welsh Legal History Society.