Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth

Her Honour Judge Smyth was appointed a County Court Judge on 1 February 2010. She was educated at Queen’s University Belfast and was called to the Bar of NI in September 1986. In September 2002 she was appointed an Employment Judge and served as Vice President of the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal from November 2007 until her elevation to the County Court Bench. She was the external examiner for Institute of Professional Legal Studies from 2010 – 2011.

She was appointed the first Principal County Court Family Judge between October 2011 and 2014. In that role, she responsible for the two largest Family Care Centres, and served on the Children Order Advisory Committee, the Advisory Panel for the Gillen Review of Family and Civil Justice and the Steering Committee of the Care

Proceedings pilot researching the reasons for delay in children’s cases. In September 2016 she was appointed an assigned Judge at Belfast Crown Court.

She was the judicial nominee on the Advisory Panel for the Gillen Review of the Law and Practice in Serious Sexual Offences and in October 2018, at an NSPCC conference, she presented a strategy for reducing delay in sexual offence trials involving children which was the catalyst for a highly successful pilot in Belfast, which she chairs. The Department of Justice is currently carrying out a scoping exercise to roll out the pilot across Northern Ireland.

She was the first serving County Court Judge appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018. In November 2020, she was appointed the assigned Judge for the Division of Antrim, and in January 2021 she was appointed a Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland