Lord Jonathan Sumption is an author, medieval historian and former Supreme Court judge.
Exceptionally, he was raised to the Supreme Court bench in 2012 directly from the practising bar, rather than from prior service as a full-time judge. He served until Dec 2018.
In 2019 Lord Sumption delivered the BBC Reith Lectures in which he argued that in recent years politics has shied away from legislating and now the courts have taken on more of the role of making law. These ideas are developed further in his latest book Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics (2020)
Since his retirement from the Supreme Court he has been unafraid to express views on other political issues. A critic of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, he recently wrote "Free people make mistakes and willingly take risks. If we hold politicians responsible for everything that goes wrong, they will take away our liberty so that nothing can go wrong. They will do this not for our protection against risk, but for their own protection against criticism.”
Sumption's narrative history of the Hundred Years' War between England and France,(of which four volumes have so far been published, has been widely praised. An opera lover, he is a director of the English National Opera and on the governing body of the Royal Academy of Music.