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Indian-origin barrister Kalyani Kaul sworn-in as Circuit Judge in the UK

Nov 13, 2015 11:11 IST

Indian-origin barrister in UK, Kalyani Kaul was sworn-in as a Circuit Judge in the UK on 9 November 2015. Now, she will be sitting at Snaresbrook Crown Court with immediate effect.

54-year-old Kalyani is known for her extensive and wide ranging experience in heavy-weight criminal defence work. She has spent 32 years defending serious and high profile cases.  

She was called to the Bar in 1983 and later in 2009, she was appointed as a Recorder by Queen Elizabeth II. As a Recorder she prepared cases for trial and presided over hearings in county courts.


Kalyani, who was the third highest-paid barrister in terms of legal air payments in 2005, studied law from the London School of Economics (LSE).

From 2013 to 2014, she was the Senior Circuit representative on the Bar Council, a vice president (former chair) of the Association of Women Barristers, and one of the two Diversity Officers for the South Eastern Circuit.

Some of the major cases handled by Kalyani include
• Government of Rwanda vs Munyaneza, an extradition case against the Government of Rwanda in 2009 relating to charges of genocide
• Case related to the Chohan murders in 2005, when five members of the same family were kidnapped and murdered. It was the longest murder trial at the Old Bailey, and went on for nearly 9 months.
• Kalyani also represented Bachan Kaur Athwal, the oldest woman to be tried for murder in the UK, relating to an 'honour killing' in which she (aged 70) was supposed to have taken her daughter in law to the Punjab and had her murdered.
• She represented Anthony Sawoniuk in relation to his trial for Second World War Crimes (multiple murders), tried in the UK in 1999 in relation to offences in Belarus in 1942. That was the first case in which a British Jury was flown abroad to see the scene of the alleged crimes.

Kalyani is the daughter of well-known British journalists Mahendra Kaul and Rajni Kaul, both of whom worked for long years with the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Mahendra Kaul was the first Asian to be honoured with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1975.

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