Judena Leslie holds a Masters Degree in History from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. She continued on to read law in the Queen’s University of Belfast and was admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1987. She was a senior civil servant and public law lawyer before being appointed in September 2015 as Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.
Judena joined the Office of Law Reform within the Department of Finance and Personnel in 1990 and was appointed Director of Law Reform in 1994. In 2000 she moved out of law to the post of Director of Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development within the Department of the Environment. In this post she led the modernisation of Northern Ireland’s environmental regulation, managing the introduction of over 60 new pieces of environmental legislation. She also led the negotiations with the European Commission to settle a large number of legal proceedings relating to environmental Directives brought by the European Commission against Northern Ireland.
In 2007 she moved to a Director post in the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure where she was the senior official on aspects of the St Andrew’s Agreement.
In 2008 Judena moved back to legal work when she was appointed as founding Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Law Commission. As CEO she was responsible for developing the Commission’s programme of law reform and its governance structures.
Judena has a small holding on the shores of Strangford lough where with her young daughter she farms and has a small showjumping / dressage yard. She has two grown up sons.