His Honour Judge Jonathan Rose

Lauren Smith

I do not come from a stereotypical lawyer’s background. No one in my family had been a lawyer. My father was a sales agent, my mother a housewife and neither had attended University. I did not attend a public or private school. None of my siblings became lawyers. I myself had not intended to become a lawyer – I wanted to be a doctor, but my inability to understand sciences or to work hard enough at school made this a pipe-dream. I had entered some public speaking contests as a teenager and so, when my less-than-stellar school career resulted in poor A Level grades I was fortunate that my parents encouraged me to study Law and that Preston Polytechnic (now the University of Central Lancashire) agreed to offer me a place. On my first day on the Law course a tutor told me he did not think me good enough to be on that course. I was determined to prove him wrong and, for the next 3 years at Preston I worked and worked to achieve the sort of grade I would need to become a Barrister. I learned from the age of 18 that only hard work, commitment and determination will bring positive benefits and results.  In 1980, at the Inns of Court School of Law in London I took what in those days was called ‘Bar Finals’ and, after being called to the Bar in 1981 and two years of post-graduate study I was fortunate to secure pupillage and then a tenancy at Bradford Chambers (now Broadway House Chambers).

My practice at first was mixed – I would do any work I was instructed in – criminal Prosecution and Defence, civil (contract, personal injury etc), family (Domestic Violence cases, children cases, matrimonial finance) and even immigration, inquests and employment law case, but I soon realised my forte would be in crime and from 1994 this was the only work I undertook.


Moving to St Paul’s Chambers in Leeds in 1994, I became a Recorder (part time Judge in criminal, civil and family Courts) and a Chairman of the Mental Health Review Tribunal (determining applications for release from psychiatric hospitals made by patients who were involuntarily detained).

I became a Circuit Judge in 2008, at Bradford Crown Court dealing only with Criminal Law. That same year I became responsible for all educational programmes at Bradford Crown Court. Since 2020 I have been the Deputy Resident Judge at Bradford.

In 2016 the University of Central Lancashire appointed me an Honorary Fellow and I occasionally lecture there and at Bradford University’s Schools of Law and of Forensic Science.

In my spare time I compose music (badly), enjoy cycling (but only when it’s warm and dry) and watch sport – almost any sport – on TV.