Criminal bar gets its first hijab-wearing QC

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By Thomas Connelly on


“It’s a surreal experience,” says No5 Chambers’ Sultana Tafadar

Sultana Tafadar QC

A Luton-born lawyer has become what is believed to be the first hijab-wearing criminal barrister to be appointed Queen’s Counsel.

Sultana Tafadar QC, a tenant of No5 Barristers’ Chambers in London, received the special silk status at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on Monday.

“It’s a surreal experience,” Tafadar told the PA news agency. “I’m absolutely delighted, especially as the first hijab-wearing barrister to have been admitted at the criminal bar.”

“Representation is really important”, she said, adding that it can hopefully help the dreams of other young hijab-wearing female lawyers “become a reality”.

Tafadar, who has Bangladeshi roots, studied an LLM in human rights at UCL and was called to the bar in 2005. She also holds a masters degree in international human rights from the University of Oxford.

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She continued: “There have been challenges in court, there have been challenges in the workplace in my previous chambers, but I’m glad to say that it is possible to overcome those challenges and it is possible — having the opportunities — it is possible to shine.”

But Tafadar isn’t the first hijab-wearing barrister to have taken silk. That accolade is said to go to Blackstone Chambers‘ Shaheed Fatima QC, who was elevated to the title in 2016.

Tafadar’s appointment comes after two members of human rights set Doughty Street came together to design and launch a special range of hijabs to wear in court.

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