The Right Honorable Mr. Justice Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Richard Malanjum was born on October 13, 1952 in Tuaran, Sabah (then North Borneo). He had his early education at the Government Primary School Buit Hill, Putatan; Sacred Heart Primary School Kota Kinabalu and completed his secondary education at the La Salle Secondary School, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
His Lordship then worked as a clerk with the Education Department, Agriculture Department, Radio & Television Department and as a Welfare Officer with the State Welfare Department before proceeding in July 1972 to read for his Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) as an external student of the University of London at the MARA Institute of Technology in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia (now University Institute Technology MARA - UiTM). He has successfully managed to complete the course within the minimum period of 3 years and was conferred the degree with second class honours in August, 1975. His Lordship was also named the best law graduate of the Institute. He received his award from the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who was then the Minister of Education.
Upon graduation with the law degree, his Lordship was appointed as an Administrative Officer with the Chief Minister's Department, Sabah but was assigned the duties as a Deputy Public Prosecutor with the State Attorney General's Chambers, Sabah. He was also a part-time lecturer in law at the MARA Institute of Technology (Sabah Campus). After working for a while to help finance his further study, his Lordship proceeded to London in April 1976 and successfully completed his Bar-at-Law study in the same year. Thereafter he was called to the English Bar of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, London. In November 1977, his Lordship was admitted as an Advocate to the Sabah Bar and to the Australian Capitol Territory (ACT) Bar in 1991. On his return from London, his Lordship resumed his service with the State Attorney General's Chamber as a Deputy Public Prosecutor and as a State Counsel.
In August 1981, his Lordship ventured into private legal practice in Kota Kinabalu and had a very successful practice until his Lordship's appointment as a Juidicial Commissioner in March 1992.
His Lordship has earned the distinction of being the first bumiputra/native of Sabah to be elevated to the high office of a Judge of the High Court and the first Sabahan to be elevated as a Judge of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, the apex court of the country. He became one of the youngest Judges, at the age of 52 years old, in the history of the Malaysian Judiciary to be elevated to that position. On 26 th July 2006, for the first time since the formation of Malaysia his Lordship at the age of 53 years old became the first Sabahan to be elevated as the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak . Previously the post was held by a British, Peninsula Malaysia or Sarawak Judge respectively.