Huddersfield's First Sikh Solicitor Appointed as District Judge

Contributed by
9 Nov 2020

Solicitor advocate and director at Switalskis Solicitors, Ranjit Uppal, has been appointed as a District Judge, deployed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to the North Eastern Circuit, based at Doncaster County Court.

Ranjit has enjoyed a long and successful career as a solicitor, specialising in family, child care and immigration law throughout his career. He was the first Sikh solicitor in Huddersfield when he qualified in 1997, after training with Parker Bird Solicitors. He became a partner at the firm in 2000, before moving to head the child care law department at Switalskis Solicitors following its merger with Parker Bird in 2012. Ranjit has Higher Rights of Audience, which enable him to represent clients before courts at all levels.

In 2006, at the age of 33, Ranjit was appointed as the youngest and first Asian president of the Huddersfield Law Society in its 126-year history. He has served as a part time District Judge since 2010, whilst working as director and solicitor advocate as part of Switalskis Solicitors’ family and care team. In 2016 he was named Solicitor Advocate of the Year at the national Law Society Excellence Awards.

Pro bono work has played a significant role in his career. With the aim of uniting and developing the legal community locally and internationally, Ranjit travelled to Uganda as part of the Huddersfield Law Society’s Twinning Group and later on behalf of Role UK, which supports long-term partnerships between the UK legal sector and legal actors in developing countries. In addition, the Ghanaian government enlisted his support in 2019 to provide advice on developing the country’s childcare system, facilitated by UK-based group Strengthening Families for Abandoned Children (SFAC).

Ranjit will take up the District Judge role from 30 November, when Switalskis Director of child care law, Ruth Coneron, will take the helm of the child care law department at the firm. Ruth has worked closely with Ranjit since she started her training contract at Parker Bird in 1997. She plans to build on the successes achieved under Ranjit’s leadership and grow the department by bringing young and ambitious lawyers into the team.

Ruth says: “Ranjit has been a tremendous driving force behind the department. Whilst we are all very sorry to see him leave Switalskis, he leaves the child care law department in a strong position and I relish the opportunity to take it forward.”

Says Ranjit Uppal: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Switalskis and recognise that the opportunities that my role here have presented have enabled me to develop into the district judge role. It is important to me that the child care law department is left in a strong position and in exceptionally safe hands, which it will be without a doubt with Ruth at the helm.”

John Durkan, Switalskis managing director, adds: “It’s with a very heavy heart that we prepare to say goodbye to Ranjit, but we completely understand his decision and all wish him the very best in this new role. The child care law department was one of only two in the firm when it was founded by Stephen Switalski in 1993. It will remain key to our business and we’re delighted that Ruth Coneron will now lead the team and continue to develop it as an area of real strength and expertise.”

About Switalskis Solicitors

Switalskis Solicitors employs over 125 specialist legal professionals in 11 offices across Yorkshire. The firm, which was established in 1993, prides itself on providing a wide range of people-centred specialist legal services and first-class client care, helping clients to achieve positive outcomes and move forward.

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