BRADFORD’S newest Crown Court judge has spoken of his “delight” to be sitting in the city and his unconventional journey to the prestigious role. 

Judge Ahmed Nadim came to the UK at the age of 13 unable to speak English and attended a comprehensive school in the Greater Manchester area. 

His father was a factory worker, who, he said “understood the value of education and he made enormous sacrifices to ensure all his children were educated”. 

“I learned not only a new language very quickly, I learned how to engage with a very different culture very quickly,” said Judge Nadim. 

His family were determined to succeed and it was that determination which saw him study at the University of Manchester, before moving to London for his Bar course and then returning back to the North. 

It was a “radically different” time, he said.

“I think at the time when I started at the Bar in Manchester, I was perhaps one of three Asians practicing, but equally there were very few women and the Bar was generally very different in those days, in the sense that it recruited from a very narrow segment of our society and things have altered radically since that time.

“The Bar itself recruits people from a very diverse background, it is making positive efforts to distance itself from what were historical recruitment practices.”

He added: “I think the profession is now much more accommodating than it may have been of differences and those differences add to the skillsets and the knowledge base of the profession.

“Anyone who aspires to be a solicitor or a barrister should not decide against that decision on the basis of their class, racial or background origins. The profession is genuinely open to all and everyone.

"My journey to becoming a judge is testament to a system that supports and accommodates anyone whatever their social background who can demonstrate they have the ability and is willing to work hard and to embrace the challenges of the legal profession.”

Judge Nadim described it as an “incredibly rewarding profession” where “you see life in its full, technicolour glory”.

He added: “You have experiences beyond your wildest imagination, you meet saints and sinners in equal measure.”

He also spoke of how it’s a profession where you can make an “enormous difference” and highlighted the importance of jury service. 

“When people receive summons to sit as jurors, that is their opportunity to make a positive contribution to the justice system and they should not avoid doing that duty and making that contribution,” he said.

Prior to sitting in Bradford, Judge Nadim had done some work in Bradford as a barrister, but had not been to the city for some years. 

While he acknowledged there are some issues local to the area, he said he felt there is a “sense of confidence about the city and those who live here”.

He added: “That optimism, I think, will lead to bigger and better things happening.

"Often, I think, prophecies can be self-fulfilling. When the riots occurred, it left a very negative impression and it has taken a while to overcome that particular impression. It’s a dynamic city, I think it holds a great deal of promise, so I’m very pleased to be here.”