A woman who made history as the youngest woman in the UK ever to be appointed as a judge has been given an honorary degree. 

Briony Clarke, who became the youngest woman in the UK ever to be appointed as a judge in 2017, received the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws from her alma mater, Anglia Ruskin University, during a graduation ceremony on Tuesday.

Briony, a graduate from ARU’s Anglia Law School, made history when she was sworn in as Deputy District Judge at Chelmsford Crown Court in March 2017.

Briony began her career at the tender age of 15, working as an administrative assistant at local firm Taylor Haldane Barlex LLP, or THB, before completing her LLB Law Degree and Legal Practice course at ARU.

She graduated in 2009, was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors soon after, and became a Duty Solicitor in 2010, in 2012 she gained her Higher Rights of Audience.

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In 2014, she had worked her way up to become partner at THB.

In 2017, Briony was appointed to sit as a Deputy District Judge in the Magistrates Court, becoming the youngest woman in the UK ever to be sworn in as a judge.

In the same year, she won ARU’s Young Alumni of the Year Award, and was listed as one of our Success in Business winners.

And in 2019, Legal 500 described Briony as a “very practical and tenacious lawyer who provides her clients with realistic advice”.

In 2020 Briony was appointed to sit as a full time District Judge and is currently based at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: “Briony is clearly an extremely ambitious individual, and it’s fantastic to see one of our alumni achieve so much at such a young age. Her success demonstrates just how much can be achieved through a combination of dedication, determination and hard work. 

“Briony will be a fantastic role model to all our students, but particularly our female students and those studying at our School of Law.”