First female Asian High Court judge sworn in

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By Alex Aldridge on

Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC is a state-school educated northerner who wanted to be an astronaut


Former City of Leeds School pupil Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC may have missed out on her dream of becoming an astronaut, but she has managed to soar pretty high up the legal profession.

Yesterday the 2 Hare Court criminal barrister became the first female Asian High Court judge as she was sworn in at a ceremony in London.

Welcoming her, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas revealed Cheema-Grubb’s previously undocumented ambition to pursue a career in outer space as he quipped:

Nasa’s loss is our gain.

Cheema-Grubb’s appointment takes the number of women High Court judges to 23 out of 108 (21%) — the highest it has ever been. This figure is more than double what it was ten years ago.

But ethnic minorities remain woefully under-represented on the bench, with Cheema-Grubb, 49, one of just four non-white High Court judges. That’s just 4% — the equivalent figure for the general UK population is 14%.

The judiciary is also dominated by the privately educated — an incredible 74% of judges went to independent schools — so state school-educated Cheema-Grubb is a breath of fresh air on that front too.

Cheema-Grubb, 49, was appointed as a recorder in 2007, and had a practice at the bar specialising in terrorist offences, serious fraud and homicide.