At last, Lord Sumption has a friend! Top female QC comes out in support of under-fire Supreme Court judge

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Sarah Forshaw QC backs Sumption over women judges comments; as shadow Lord Chancellor is latest to put boot in


The letters page of today’s The Times makes for interesting reading.

Among the authors in what is a bumper Lord Sumption-themed edition are well known 5 King’s Bench Walk criminal barrister Sarah Forshaw QC (pictured), shadow Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton (pictured), international human rights guru Kirsty Brimelow QC and Martha Cover, the head of Coram Chambers.

Falconer, Brimelow and Cover have joined the legal Twitterati and barrister-campaigner Charlotte Proudman in roundly condemning Sumption’s suggestion that expediting women into judicial roles “could have appalling consequences for justice”.

Lord Falconer’s letter is particularly punchy, describing Sumption’s comments as “deeply worrying” and accusing the old Etonian judge of “sending the (false) signal that this is a closed world”.

But the real shock is the Forshaw, who … wait for it … is backing naughty step Jonathan!

Despite the men-only Garrick Club still being a thing and all the statistical evidence showing the senior end of law to be dominated by men — around 11% of QCs at the top 30 chambers are women, for example — Forshaw optimistically claims that the “myth of the ‘old boys’ network was laid to rest many years ago”.

She adds that “Being female is no longer any barrier to advancement for those of merit who seek it”, before concluding of women lawyers: “Their time will come. Forcing the pace insults them.”

Sarah Forshaw QC’s letter in full:




She is a real female barrister.

Proudman, take note.



Eloquent, reasoned and correct – everything Proudman is not.



Hear hear! Even if she was pro-positive discrimination, a sensible statement such as this is worth 1 million rants from Proudman. Proudman’s problem is that she is of mediocre intellect but believes she is intelligent and has been deprived of opportunities because of sexism.


Salacious Gossip

I heard Charlotte Proudman crapped in the pool at Clifford Chance.


Salacious Gossip

True story.



I heard she tried to organise a threesome by the pool but it all went south and she ended up having to kill a security guard.



“Being fame is no longer any barrier to advancement for those of merit who seek it” – Freudian transcription error, LC?



…or copy typing, even!


Not Amused

I think positive discrimination is a red herring.

Instead I think it is right to question whether we really think that Jonathan Sumption is unique. Because if, like me, you think he probably isn’t, then what is the harm, risk or danger in searching out a ‘Sumption-like’ female QC, solicitor or lower judge and promoting them instantly to the Supremes?

The sky didn’t fall in when Sumption was appointed. The sky didn’t fall in the first time he dissented nor the first time he was wrong. The sky wouldn’t fall in if we found a female equivalent.



But he wasn’t fast-tracked simply for being male.



Nail. Hit. On. Head.


Alex R

Stunning photo of Sarah.



Alex R —

You mean the quality of the photographic representation, right ?



much classier voice than Proudman too.


White working class.

The white male blah blah blah let’s have positive discrimination and quotas for women because the old boy network blah blah blah. Well bollocks to that.

As a very hardworking and busy white male junior from a comprehensive school, red brick uni, brought up by a hard working single mother why should I face yet another level of prejudice and discrimination?

Doubtless the White public school educated Oxbridge woman can take her rightful place at their male counterparts top table on that quota basis

But what about the rest of us, be we male, female, black, white, gay straight, but from the ranks of the less privileged? What of the rest of us?

Pure, true meritocracy and real societal equality etc, will take generations.
It is far far more than just a fight against sexism, it’s more than a fight against a multitude of isms. It’s the British value system seen and expressed through the prism of the privileged and self assumed most deserving.



Well said .. And exactly what this Forshaw women was saying



Shame on Proudman. See, it is meritorious for a female to recognise the severity of positive discrimination. That’s why Forshaw is a QC, and Proudman isn’t.



Yes it Proudman is only five years or so call. Hardly going to be applying for silk yet is she?



She will never make silk. And she will only have herself (and the patriarchy) to blame.


Leek Social Club

I saw this story, felt…ah-ha! a chance to try and defeat the evil Proudman with another witty comment and then I just felt flat…..One get’s exhausted trying to communicate outrage to people like Proudman, she’s not listening and even if she ever read these comments she would see anything negative as proof that the world is against her and her divine beliefs.

It’s like trying to argue with religious zealots, the more you show rational reasons for their being wrong the more nervous they get and more determined to hold onto their beliefs (because that is all they’ve got).

Oh well, that said, I guess satire is the best weapon to pierce the bubble of the fatuous loud mouths of this world such as Proudman, Mensch, Geldoff etc.


Robert Louis Stevenson

What if Sarah Forshaw and Charlotte Proudman are the same person, and don’t realise it? Maybe Forshaw created a formula designed to cure the diversity problems in the industry (distilled from the tears of a million female BME failed applicants) tested it on herself and mutated into a raging beast? In the throes of her mutation, all she could think of were the last words her best friend Lord Sumption said to her: “You’re a top-class QC and a scientific genius. You should be proud, man!”.



Best way to advance one’s career?

Suck up to senior judiciary by penning letter to Times leaping to the defence of member of senior judiciary, with some pithy arguments that really don’t do the debate justice:

To use her own style – she is just a brown-noser



“No senior figure in an industry can ever comment in support of their industry”



A QC of Forshaw’s quality doesn’t need to “suck up” to anyone. Furthermore, letters to the Times don’t quite work like that. Four QCs “wrote” that day.


Mr B J Mann

“around 11% of QCs at the top 30 chambers are women, for example”

Proudman herself wrote in the times that only 12% of QCs are female.

While only 24% of judges are female.

And she was complaining about sexism and discrimination by the establishment patriarchy?!?!?!?

Next she’ll be demanding that wimmin are allowed to study Maths at O Level!


The Ayatollah Kenobi

“international human rights guru Kirsty Brimelow” – are you on crack cocaine bruv?


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