Women will race to the top of the judicial ranks in 2017, says Joshua Rozenberg QC

Four female names put forward in predictions piece

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There will be more women on the Supreme Court bench by the end of 2017 than there were at the beginning, predicts Joshua Rozenberg QC.

This is according to a piece written by the top legal affairs journalist — who is very well-connected to the judiciary — on the court’s upcoming shake-up.

There will be three Supreme Court justice-shaped holes to fill come the summer, which is when Lords Neuberger and Clarke are scheduled to step down. Lord Toulson rounds off the trio; though he hung up his robes back in 2016, his vacancy has still not been filled.

With retirements come replacements, and Rozenberg thinks deputy president and law student favourite Lady Hale “is a racing certainty” to take over from president Neuberger.

As for new female faces, honorary QC Rozenberg names three he believes are in the running for Supreme Court stardom.

One is appeal judge Lady Justice Black who, like Hale, has a strong family law background. He tips her as a “strong candidate”. Second is the Court of Appeal’s Lady Justice Gloster, though Rozenberg does caveat his prediction slightly by stating that — because of statutory retirement dates — her appointment would be for less than two years. Interestingly, he has also punted for European Union Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston, noting “she would be of immense value to the Supreme Court as it grapples with the consequences of Brexit”.

Rozenberg’s latest post names more female Supreme Court contenders than his previous predictions piece, and it’s also worth remembering there are further opportunities for increased gender parity in the courts this year.

Notably, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd will be waving goodbye to his Lord Chief Justice position come October, and there’s scope for a woman to replace him. Though Sir Brian Leveson, of phone-hacking inquiry fame, is “the favoured candidate”, Rozenberg said:

Lady Justice Hallett will certainly throw her hat in the ring and could serve until December 2019. The press will back her — not just because it would be good to have a woman as chief justice but because newspapers oppose the implementation of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which derives from Leveson’s press inquiry in 2012.

He also floats the possibility of Lady Justice Sharp, Leveson’s current deputy as the Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division. If Leveson does end up scoring the top job, Sharp “may well” succeed him when he retires in 2019. So, while it might not be imminent, it’s likely gender equality in the upper echelons of the judiciary is going to improve in the next few years.

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9 Comments

Anonymous

Really can’t see the point appointing a new LCJ for 2 years. They will barely get their feet under the bench in Court 4 before a replacement is needed.

There have been many distinguished CA judges in the past who failed to become LCJ because there wasn’t an appropriate vacancy when they were ‘ready’, and I don’t see why a newer face with a likely longer tenure shouldn’t be appointed now.

(3)(0)
Trumpenkrieg

I think this is great. It is important that the highest levels of the judiciary are representative of the population.

(4)(6)
Bumblebee

Yes, I agree. To that end, judges should have normally distributed IQs with a mean of 100.

(13)(2)
Anonymous

“QC”? He’s an honorary QC and to his credit he doesn’t ask for that to be appended to his name as it’s a bit vulgar.

It’s like a celeb with an honorary doctorate asking to be called “Dr” from then on. Stop it.

(6)(1)
Lord Harley of Counsel

It is vulgar and offensive when a person claims qualifications that they do not actually have.

My doctorate is real which is why I use it before the lower courts. In the higher courts I use my peerage which my dear old pa left for me. It, too, is real.

Rozenberg is not a real QC.

(9)(0)
Anonymous

I really hope Gloster LJ gets made up to SCJ. She is extremely good and would be a breath of fresh air up there, even if only for two years.

(3)(0)
Lord Denning

Appointment judges just because they are women is very wrong. It should all be metric and credential based. Women need to stop moaning all the time!

(4)(1)
Chris Grayling's Bald Head

And why is my owner, Chris Grayling, not one of the appointees?

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Because he is neither a lawyer nor a person of judgment, each of which is a necessary condition for appointment. HHJ Patricia Lynch QC would know what to call him.

(3)(0)

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