A lawyer has been appointed as the youngest ever-female judge in the UK.
Briony Clarke, 31, was sworn in as a deputy district judge at Chelmsford Crown Court on 7 March.
Clarke began her legal career at the age of 15 on work experience at Taylor Haldane Barlex LLP (THB) in Chelmsford. She worked her way up the same company; she was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 2009, became an accredited Duty Solicitor in 2010, an associate at THB in 2013 and a partner in 2014.
Clarke also juggled both work and study to complete her law degree and Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Anglia Ruskin University.
Speaking about her achievements, Judge Charles Gratwicke said, “It’s nice to have someone from our own community, embarking on the same career that we have all at some stage had to launch ourselves into.”
Gratwicke confirmed that Clarke’s compulsory retirement date would be 2056, saying, “It’s a long time.”
“It just goes to show how young you are and how long a career you have.”
“Many congratulations. Enjoy it.”
A spokesman for THB said, “THB are delighted to announce that Briony Clarke, who started with us as an administrative assistant some 16 years ago when THB was founded, has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge (Magistrate Court).”
“This is a prestigious appointment that reflects her ability as a Criminal Advocate.”
“We believe she is the youngest female applicant to have been successful.”
“It is without doubt an extraordinary personal achievement and the partnership is absolutely delighted for her.”
“Briony will continue her practice and sit as a Deputy District Judge part time.”