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

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By Alex Aldridge on

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: