With a 40-year film career behind him, Leigh is a respected director of both stage and screen and chairman of the London Film School. His bittersweet depictions of British society have earned him countless international awards.
The festival, usually called the Berlinale, is one of the world's major film festivals, taking place each February in Berlin. Around 20 films usually compete for the prestigious Bear awards, the recipients of which Leigh and the jury will decide during the ten day festival.
Taking place between 9 -19 February 2012 in locations all over the city, the festival is attended by almost 500,000 people each year.
Raised in Salford, northern England, Leigh has directed 20 films, debuting in 1972 with "Bleak Moments," which took the Locarno Film Festival Golden Leopard.
Other successes include the multiple-award winning "Secrets and Lies" (1996), and the Oscar-nominated "Vera Drake," which won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 2004.
Over the years, Leigh has been invited to the Berlinale to present "Meantime" in 1984, the short film "The Short and Curlies" in 1988 and "Life is Sweet" in 1991. Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" took part in the 2008 competition, earning a best actress prize for Sally Hawkins.
More recently, Leigh has directed Oscar nominated "Another Year" and the stage play "Grief," which is currently being performed in Britain.
Leigh will join an illustrious company of jury presidents that includes Roland Emmerich, Werner Herzog and Isabella Rossellini.