A barrister who has been appointed a Circuit Judge has shared the moving and inspirational story of his family’s arrival here from Pakistan and his climb up the legal ladder during the more than 50 years he has lived in the city.

Tahir Khan KC, who has frequently sat as a Recorder at Bradford Crown Court, has been deployed to the North Eastern Circuit and will be based at Leeds Combined Court Centre.

For the last two years, he has been Joint Head of Broadway House Barristers Chambers in Vicar Lane, Little Germany, Bradford.

Now the King has appointed him to be a Circuit Judge on the advice of the Lord Chancellor and the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Here is Mr Khan’s story in his own words....

In June 1961, Mohammed Muzaffar Khan flew into Heathrow airport on a flight from Karachi. It was the first time that my father (then aged 24) had left his home in the Punjab region of Pakistan. He left behind his wife, (my mother) and their infant, baby child (my big sister).

My father was one of many young men who made that journey migrating towards the industrial north of England and the dream of a better life than they had in their homeland.

This new life was tough. My father shared a house with more than a dozen young men, all working shifts to earn money to support themselves and more importantly to send money back to their families. These immigrants were not welcomed with open arms. There was hostility and racism. But my father had some education and spoke English which set him apart from many of his compatriots.

In due course, my mother and my sister were also allowed to enter the UK. Bradford has been our home for more than 50 years. I had my education at state schools in the city. We could not afford private education on my father’s wages from being a bus driver.

People often assume that I must have been passionate about a career in law, but the truth is that I fell into law by default, having applied to study dentistry at University and not having got the grades I needed.

My first job was as a junior prosecutor working from the CPS office in Bradford. I was only 23 years old and the admin staff would refer to me as the “baby barrister”. It was a steep learning curve and before long I was prosecuting more and more complex cases. Those five years as a prosecutor taught me a great deal about the law. My boss and my line manager were incredibly supportive as were all my colleagues. I was the only ethnic minority Crown Prosecutor in West Yorkshire.

In 1992, I joined Broadway House Barristers Chambers. I am hugely indebted to Sydney Levine (sadly he passed away earlier this year) for offering me a place at Bradford Chambers. He and my pupil master John Swanson nurtured my latent talent and encouraged me to aspire to achievements my parents never even dared to dream of. Sydney was an institution, a fine lawyer and in his spare time, a marathon runner, well into his middle age. We all referred to him as “Supersonic Sid”. But then he had to have a stent fitted and he became known as “Duracell Sid”

The encouragement was not just from my elders and betters in Chambers but across the board from senior members of the Bar on the North Eastern Circuit to judges who went out of their way to support me. In 2005, I was appointed a fee-paid judge of the Crown Court and in 2011, I was appointed Queen’s Counsel.

For the last two years, I have been Joint Head of Broadway House Barristers Chambers with my dear friend Stephen Wood KC and I give thanks for his wisdom and friendship.

My roots have always been in Bradford. It’s where I was born and it’s home. We have diverse communities living together in harmony. I have always regarded myself as a Bradford lad and when I go away from home, I always emphasise my Bradford upbringing. I love this city despite its ups and downs over the last 60 years. Bradford’s successful bid as the City of Culture for 2025 is a huge achievement and it reflects the city’s pro-gress in recent years.

My appointment as a Crown Court Judge is the ‘icing on the cake’ on a personal level. But it has a greater significance because it demonstrates that a career in the Law is open to all sections of the community, not just the privileged. I am living proof of that. Much of the credit for my modest achievements goes to those who made me believe that the son of a Pakistani bus driver could become a Judge.