Judge Cooke is an Aberystwyth University graduate, having achieved a first class honours in 1976 and winning the Sweet and Maxwell Prize. He was called to the Bar Middle Temple 1977 and a year later joined the Wales and Chester Circuit, where he served until 2007. He was appointed Queens Counsel in 1998 and Senior Circuit Judge in 2007, and served as Recorder of Cardiff from 2007 until 2011. He is currently Additional Judge at the Central Criminal Court following his appointment in 2012, Deputy High Court Judge, Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court, Judge of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, and Chancellor of the Diocese of St Davids. Amongst his hobbies he lists sport, especially athletics, hockey and Newport County AFC, theatre and the music of Black America 1959-1973. He is married with two grown up daughters.