Her Honour Judge Carol Atkinson – Deputy High Court Judge and Designated Family Judge for East London
Carol graduated from the Law School in July 1984 and moved to London to sit her Bar Exams. She secured pupillage in a general common law set and was offered a tenancy immediately. She moved chambers once, before leading a merger between the family team at her chambers and the family team at another set, becoming a founding member in 1999 of the busy successful set at Coram Chambers in London, specialising in family law, but also experiencing a truly common law practice.
She was appointed a Recorder in the Crown Court in 2000. Returning to the criminal law after nearly 15 years was both exciting and challenging. She was given civil and private law family tickets and in 2005 was one of the few part-time judges at that time to be given a ticket to hear public law cases.
Rather than apply for Silk, she decided to apply for judicial appointment, and in 2007 was appointed to the Circuit Bench sitting across three jurisdictions – family, crime and civil. In 2010 she was appointed to the Judicial College as a Tutor on the Family Course, where she still lectures.
In October 2013, in anticipation of the implementation of the Family Justice reforms and the division of London into three family justice regions, Carol was appointed Designated Family Judge for East London. She was given a unique opportunity to create the new East London Family Court from scratch across four local county courts with a brand new court building in Canary Wharf, London Docklands. East London now has the largest number of public law cases across the London region and across the country. They also take one half of all of London and Greater London private law and injunction cases. Carol leads a team of 8 Circuit Judges, 20 District Judges, 8 District Judges (Magistrates Court), and many legal advisors and Magistrates.
She was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2011, sitting for a number of weeks a year in the Family Division. She also has a Court of Protection ticket and maintains her sittings in the Crown Court for a number of weeks a year.
Her husband is also a member of the judiciary and together they have happily managed busy careers with family life and their three children.