He retired as a judge last December after reaching full retirement age. He was called to the bar of Ireland in 1966 and admitted to the inner bar in 1980. He practiced as a barrister for 30 years, mainly in the areas of European law and commercial litigation.
Senior legal sources say that the Mr Cooke is very well respected. He also has no political links, sources said.
According to the Association of Judges of Ireland, Mr Cooke was president of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the EU in 1985 and 1986.
He was appointed a member of the then Court of First Instance of the European Communities (now the General Court of the European Union) in January 1996 and retired from the Court on 15 September 2008.
Mr Cooke then returned to Ireland in 2008 after serving for 12 years in Europe.
He was appointed to be a judge of the High Court in November 2008. In July 2011, the Government appointed him chairman of the commission to review the Dáil and European constituencies. As a judge, he also heard cases at length on asylum judicial reviews for a number of years in the High Court.
When he retired last year, High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said that Judge Cooke’s career was “illustrious” and described him as “one of the foremost Irish jurists of his time”.
“From his earliest days at the bar, John Cooke exhibited outstanding ability in the area of commercial work and was a formidable advocate,” said Judge Kearns.