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Britain appointed its first black High Court judge on Thursday and she predicted she would be “the first of many.” The Department for Constitutional Affairs confirmed the appointment of Linda Dobbs, 53, the first black lawyer promoted beyond the ranks of circuit judges, who hear lesser cases. Joining the High Court will give her access to some of the country’s most important trials. “Whilst this appointment might be seen as casting me into the role of standard bearer, I am simply a practitioner following a career path,” Dobbs said in a statement. “I am confident, nevertheless, that I am the first of many to come.” There are currently only nine black circuit judges among the 623 in England and Wales, or 1.4 percent. Dobbs will take up her new post — which carries a salary of more than 150,000 pounds (US$270,000) a year — in October. As a senior lawyer, she has worked on a wide variety of cases, in areas including white-collar crime, disciplinary tribunals, sexual offenses, health and safety, environmental law, medical manslaughter, drug smuggling and money laundering. She has also published books and articles on road traffic law. Dobbs was appointed chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in September 2003 but has stepped down in order to take up the High Court position. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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