Rt Hon Dame Janet Smith is a former Judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal. She was called to the Bar in 1972 and practised in Manchester for 20 years, specialising in the areas of personal injuries and clinical negligence. She was appointed QC in 1986 and a High Court Judge in 1992, promoted in 2002 to the Court of Appeal. She retired from the bench in 2011.
As a High Court Judge she presided over many notable criminal and civil cases. She has also been responsible for a number of high profile Inquiries, first into the abuse of children at Scotforth House in Lancaster 1992; the Shipman Inquiry from 2001 to 2005 and in October 2012 she was commissioned by the BBC to conduct an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and to review the culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Savile worked there. She also serves as the Independent Assessor for compensation for Miscarriages of Justice.
Dame Janet was President of the Council of the Inns of Court from 2006 to 2009 and was Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn in 2012. She has received Honorary Degrees from Manchester Metropolitan University and Lancaster University. She was Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University from 2003-9. She is Chairman of the Buxton Festival.
Dame Janet Smith was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of Hughes Hall in 2013.