SALT LAKE CITY — A new presiding judge has been appointed for the 3rd District Court as the current judge will retire next month.

Third District Judge Royal Hansen will take over the post for a two-year term when the current judge, Robert Hilder, retires Aug. 1.

Hansen has been on the bench since 2003, when he was appointed by Gov. Mike Leavitt. He earned a law degree from the University of Utah Quinney College of Law and is permitted to practice law in both Utah and the District of Columbia.

He practiced with the law firm of Moyle & Draper from 1976 to 2003 and is the founding judge of the South Valley Felony Drug Court.

According to courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer, the presiding judge oversees the assigning of cases and judges and is "responsible for the effective operation of their courts."

Under court rules, they are also "responsible for implementation and enforcement of statutes, rules, policies, and directives of the Utah Judicial Council as they pertain to the administration of the courts."

The judges are elected by way of a majority vote of the judges serving on their court. An associate presiding judge is also appointed to assume the presiding judge's responsibilities in case the presiding judge is unavailable.

Judge Deno Himonas will serve as associate presiding judge with Hansen.

The 3rd District Court serves Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties.