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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Top judge is new Diana coroner
Lord Justice Scott Baker
Lord Justice Scott Baker has more than 40 years experience
The new coroner for the inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed has been formally appointed.

Lord Justice Scott Baker, one of the country's most senior judges, took over the high-profile role after Baroness Butler-Sloss quit in April.

She said she lacked the experience of juries needed to handle the case.

Lady Butler-Sloss took the case last year after the previous royal coroner, Michael Burgess, quit blaming a "heavy and constant" workload.

Lord Justice Baker, who has more than 40 years' experience, will oversee his first preliminary hearing at the High Court on Wednesday.

He has been working alongside Lady Butler-Sloss since she announced her plan to step down.

Tenth anniversary

The inquest process has been beset by problems and delays.

Then royal coroner Dr John Burton took responsibility for the princess's body following her death in a car crash in 1997, but he retired in 2002.

LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER
Became High Court Judge in Family Division in 1988
Transferred to the Queen's Bench Division in 1992
Became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2002.
Was a member of the Parole Board from 1999 to 2002

Lady Butler-Sloss took over last September after Mr Burgess stepped down, but just three months later she was forced to back down over plans to hold the inquests in private.

Then, Mr Al Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, won a judicial review against her decision to sit without a jury.

Meanwhile, Princes William and Harry have requested a swift end to the process as they plan to mark the tenth anniversary of their mother's death this summer.

The inquests are due to begin in October and are expected to last between four and eight months.






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