Top Judge Was Man of Intellect and Integrity; Civil Law Specialist Was a Fine Sportsman and Active Church Member

Article excerpt

Byline: Norman Francis

NORMAN Francis was a presiding judge in Cardiff and one of the longest serving members of the judiciary.

While working as a judge, he also served as a member of the Criminal Law Revision Committee and the Home Office Advisory Committee on Sexual Offences.

Born in Cardiff, Norman's father was a solicitor and his grandfather had been lord mayor.

He was educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire, and Lincoln College, Oxford.

After wartime service as a Royal Artillery lieutenant, Norman completed his degree, gaining a blue for hockey and a half-blue for cricket.

When he graduated, he was called to the Bar and practised as a barrister in Cardiff.

He became the deputy chairman of the Brecknock quarter sessions and was appointed a county court judge in 1969.

During his time on the bench, he worked, initially, in the courts of the Valleys around Cardiff until he returned to work in the city as the presiding judge, a position he retained until his retirement.

Norman acted as a former judge of Pontypridd County Court and later of the Cardiff County Court, which was the predecessor to the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre. He was known to be an excellent civil lawyer.

Administrative law was nowhere as well developed dur- ing his time on the bench, certainly not during his time at the bar.

But many High Court judges and senior circuit judges developed their civil law skills in his courts and they are his legacy to the administration of justice in Wales. …