Sir Brian Leveson, a Lord Justice of Appeal, comes to the university after leading the government-commissioned report into press ethics.
The judge has prior experience of higher education, having taught for nine years at the University of Liverpool, working part-time in the law faculty, and also having served on its council.
He will assume the role of Liverpool John Moores chancellor at the end of March, taking over from Queen guitarist Brian May.
Asked why he accepted the post, he told Times Higher Education: “I’m a Liverpudlian and I’m keen to remain involved with the city where I lived for 43 years.”
He praised “the way LJMU is going about seeking to encourage diversity in its undergraduate population”.
The university has “great breadth” in traditional academic subjects but “also in other more vocational-based courses”, he noted.
This was “absolutely the correct way for us to be going as a country”, Sir Brian said. He added that he was “flattered to be asked” to take up the role.
Could he see any potential connection between his work on the press inquiry and his work at Liverpool John Moores, for example the relation of libel law to science publishing?
“No,” came the answer from Sir Brian, before he added: “Good try.”
He continued: “I’m not going to comment at all on the inquiry. The ball is very much in the court of the politicians.”
Sir Brian closed his interview with praise for post-1992 universities such as Liverpool John Moores. “The former polytechnics provide a much broader access for many who previously wouldn’t have come into higher education, and I think that is only to be encouraged,” he said.