Sir James Dingemans is to step down from his role as the Rugby Football Union’s first Independent Head of Rugby Judiciary at the end of this season, a role he has held since 2013.

The post was created to ensure independence between the prosecutorial and judicial functions of the discipline department at the RFU.

Sir James has been the senior member of the RFU’s independent judiciary since that time, chairing hearings for the union and sitting on appeal panels for the Six Nations, European Professional Club Rugby and World Rugby.

He agreed to extend his term by one year beyond the initial period of three years until the end of the current 2016/17 season.

“Sir James has made an enormous contribution to ensuring that the objectives of our disciplinary system are met and the core values of the game are protected,” said Ian Ritchie, RFU chief executive.

“There has been significant progress made over recent years in ensuring the RFU’s processes continue to be improved and Sir James has played a key role in this alongside the RFU discipline department.”

Sir James added: “It has been a great privilege to lead the independent RFU judiciary.  I am very grateful to the disciplinary hearings manager, the judicial officers and disciplinary panel members for all their hard work and help over the last four years.”

Sir James was appointed as a High Court Judge in June 2013, and is a Presiding Judge of the Western Circuit. Prior to that appointment he acted in numerous public and private enquiries, including The Hutton Inquiry as leading counsel, The Leveson Enquiry, The Potters Bar rail accident inquest and The Football Association Independent Review.

He has also played rugby to a high level, gaining an Oxford Blue in the winning Varsity side in 1985. He played for many years at Ealing Rugby Club, before retiring aged 44.

The process of recruitment for the new Independent Head of Rugby Judiciary is currently underway. Click here to find out more details.