High Court and County Court Appointments

16 December 2022 - 10.30 am

His Majesty the King has appointed His Honour Judge Patrick Kinney to the office of High Court Judge in Northern Ireland and Presiding District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) Mark McGarrity and Mr Mark Reel as County Court Judges in Northern Ireland.

The judges were sworn into office before Dame Siobhan Keegan, the Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, on Friday 16 December 2022.

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The Honourable Mr Justice Patrick Kinney

The Honourable Mr Justice Kinney was educated at Queen’s University in Belfast and graduated with a Law degree in 1983. After obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Legal Studies he was admitted to the Role of Solicitors in February 1985.

The Honourable Mr Justice Kinney practised as a solicitor from 1985 to 2007 becoming Managing Partner of Fitzsimons Kinney Mallon Solicitors in 1990. He was also a member of the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland from 1996 to 2007 and during this time a member of the Law Reform Advisory Committee of Northern Ireland and of the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland.

In April 2007 The Honourable Mr Justice Kinney was appointed Chairman of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal. Five years later, in September 2012, he was appointed as a County Court Judge. He was the Assigned County Court Family Judge from February 2017 until September 2021. Prior to this appointment he sat in the Crown Court, Family and Civil courts as well as hearing appeals from the District Judges’ Court.

The Honourable Mr Justice Kinney was a Commissioner on the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission from June 2013 until December 2016, and was appointed as a Coroner in November 2016 to assist in dealing with legacy inquests.

Since October 2021 The Honourable Mr Justice Kinney has been sitting as an assigned Crown Court Judge at Laganside Courts Belfast.

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His Honour Judge Mark McGarrity

His Honour Judge McGarrity graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2003.  Following this, he graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Legal Studies.  He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2004 and the Bar of Ireland in 2011.  He graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with an LLM in Human Rights and Criminal Justice in 2012.

As a barrister, His Honour Judge McGarrity principally practiced in criminal, coronial and administrative law. 

His Honour Judge McGarrity was appointed to the judiciary in 2019, serving first as a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts).  In 2021, His Honour Judge McGarrity was appointed to the position of Presiding District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) which involved leadership and management responsibility for summary courts throughout the jurisdiction.

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His Honour Judge Mark Reel

His Honour Judge Reel read Aeronautical Engineering before reading Law at Queen’s University Belfast.  He has been a self-employed barrister since 1996 when he was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland. 

His Honour Judge Reel has a considerable range and depth of experience across the most serious crown cases, including historic sex offences and civil litigation, including clinical negligence litigation and equity cases.  He was appointed to the coroners’ panel and maintained a large coronial practice with particular experience of jury inquests, prison deaths, and deaths arising from clinical issues.