Early life and education
Harms was born in Berlin on September 29, 1946. After completing the Abitur in Frankfurt am Main in February 1966, she started studying law at the University of Heidelberg and later at the University of Hamburg, where she did her first state exam in April 1971, followed by the second one in March 1974. Between 1971 and 1974 she also had her judicial clerkship (“Referendariat”) in Hamburg.
After graduating, Harms worked as a prosecutor in Hamburg until she became a judge at the regional court (“Landgericht”) of Hamburg. During 1983 and 1987 she was a judge at the finance court (“Finanzgericht”) of Hamburg. Afterwards she was appointed as a judge at the Federal Court of Justice of Germany in 1987, where she later became a presiding judge as well. She became the Attorney General of Germany in June 2006, an office which she held until reaching the age limit in 2011.
Harms, who is considered an expert in law regarding fiscal offences also works as a lecturer at the Ministry of Finance's Bundesfinanzakademie since 1990, and she held various other lectureships. In January 2008 she became an honorary professor at the University of Halle-Wittenberg.
Harms is married and a member of the Christian Democratic Union.