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25 MAR 2015

District Judge Julie Exton appointed as new President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges

District Judge Julie Exton appointed as new President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges
District Judge Julie Exton, who sits at Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, has been appointed as the new President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges.

The other officers of the association elected by its members at its Annual General Meeting held on the 20 March 2015 in London were:
  • District Judge Paul Ayers as Senior Vice-President, who sits at Bedford; and
  • District Judge Heather Johns as Junior Vice-President, who sits at Barnet.
District Judge Exton (57) was admitted as a solicitor in 1983, having been articled at Burges Salmon, and then moved to Veale Benson (now Veale Wasbrough Vizards) upon qualification. She was made a partner there in 1988. She was appointed a Deputy District Judge in 1993 and obtained a full-time appointment in 1999. For a number of years she was a civil tutor judge at the Judicial College; she is the District Judge representative on the Franco-British-Irish Judicial Co-operation Committee; and she is currently the judge in charge of one of the very few Family Drug and Alcohol Courts outside London.

She is married to Stephen, a barrister, and has two daughters, Izzie and Jess, and two stepsons, Paul and Chris. When time permits, she enjoys travel, cinema, a female-only book group and French classes.

District Judge Exton said today:

‘I feel very privileged to have been elected President, and to represent close on 450 District Judges across England and Wales. Of course, I have already had a few months of practice having, somewhat earlier than anticipated, stepped into the shoes of my predecessor, Robert Jordan, following his recent elevation to the circuit bench.

2015 is likely to be a very challenging year. HMCTS reform is underway which may well result in change to working practices and deployment of judges is under consideration and of course an increasing numbers of litigants in person fill the courts.

Over the years since I was appointed, I have witnessed enormous changes not only to the breadth and range of work undertaken by District Judges, but also to the jurisdiction exercised. I have no doubt whatsoever that the District Bench will continue to ‘rise to the occasion’ as it has always previously done.’
The Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges represents all 420 of the district judges who exercise a civil and family jurisdiction in the county courts and district registries of the High Court throughout England and Wales. Acting through its committee and officers, the association gives pastoral advice and assistance to its members. It also represents the district bench in varied discussions and meetings with the senior judiciary, HMCS and many other organisations.

District Judge Exton writes extensively for Family Law, including the quarterly news update for the Association of Her Majesty's District Judges. Articles she has written include 'Gloucestershire Family Drug and Alcohol Court – 20 months on' [2015] Fam Law 66 and 'The Bundles Practice Direction – and why it should be obeyed' [2015] Fam Law 351.
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