Sir John Saunders, having acted as the Coroner responsible for conducting the Inquests arising from the deaths in the Manchester Arena terror attack on 22 May 2017, was appointed to chair the Manchester Arena Inquiry by the Home Secretary in October 2019.
Sir John is a retired High Court judge. He was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1972, and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He was appointed as a Recorder in 1990, and became a Senior Circuit Judge and the Recorder of Birmingham in 2004. In 2007 he was appointed as a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. He was Presiding Judge on the South Eastern Circuit from 2009–2012.
Sir John has significant experience trying terrorism cases as the Recorder of Birmingham and as the Presiding Judge on the South Eastern Circuit from 2009 to 2012. He has presided over a number of other high profile cases relating to phone-hacking, fraudulent expense claims by Members of Parliament and espionage.
He was a member of the Sentencing Council from 2013 to 2016 and is currently Vice Chair of the Parole Board.