Judicial gender diversity reaches record high as two more female High Court judges are appointed

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By Katie King on

But high of 21% is still very low


Two women have been appointed to the High Court judiciary today, taking the number of female High Court judges to its highest figure ever.

Once the new appointees have been sworn in, the number of female judges in the High Court will be 23 — 21% of the total number of High Court judges. This figure is on a par with the number of female judges sitting in the Court of Appeal.

Before the appointments, women made up 19% of the High Court judiciary — or 21 out of 108. In 2005 there were just ten women. Overall, 25.2% of judges in the courts today are women, and 43.8% in the tribunals.

Circuit Judge Her Honour Judge May QC, 54, and barrister Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC, 49, have been appointed in place of two male judges, Mr Justice Akenhead and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker respectively, both of whom have retired.

Her Honour Judge May, real name Juliet Mary May, is a former barrister. Called to the bar in 1988 and taking silk in 2008, she was then appointed as a circuit judge in 2008, and was based at Wood Green Crown Court. She was also appointed as a recorder in 2002 and as a legal member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in the same year.

Mrs Cheema-Grubb is a barrister at 2 Hare Court who specialises in terrorist offences, serious fraud and homicide. She was appointed as a recorder in 2007, and is now the first Asian woman to be appointed to the High Court bench.