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Service Marks Start of UK Legal Year

Tuesday, 1st October 2013

Service Marks Start of UK Legal Year

The annual Judges Service took place at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 1st October 2013.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall said: ‘At the beginning of the legal year, we gather in the presence of almighty God, who is the judge of all and who knows the secrets of our hearts, to renew our commitment to the service of the Crown and of all people in the cause of justice.

‘We acknowledge our high calling to reflect the justice and mercy of God. We seek God’s strength and guidance that we might remain true to the highest legal traditions, subtle as we apply ourselves to the causes before us, and wise as we influence the development of the law.
‘We pray for the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, The Right Honourable Christopher Grayling MP, for The Right Honourable Sir John Thomas, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and for all who make and administer the law, both in the United Kingdom and in the European Union and in the other legal jurisdictions represented here today.
‘We ask God to sustain us in our duties, to grant us humility and sound judgement, to forgive our errors, and to inspire us in our service. Here on earth may we serve more faithfully that heavenly justice in which alone we can in the end trust.’

Lessons were read by The Lord Chancellor (Micah 6: 1-8) and the Lord Chief Justice (St Matthew 5: 1-16).

The sermon was by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and Primate of England.  

Prayers were led by the Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster, and said by the Reverend Robin Griffith-Jones, Master, The Temple; the Reverend Hugh Mead, Reader, The Temple; the Right Reverend Michael Doe, Preacher, Gray’s Inn; the Right Reverend John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster; and the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges, Canon in Residence.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of The Choristers. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist.

The service takes place at the start of the UK legal year and is attended by judges and other members of the legal profession. This annual service has been held in the Abbey since the Middle Ages.

See also:

The Order of Service

The biggest challenge we face is actually time – getting all our work done alongside the daily routine of the Abbey as a working church, visitor attraction and home to 1,000 years of history.


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