Flexible working will be available to High Court judges for the first time in a bid to increase the number of women on the bench.

One of the nine posts being advertised for the Queen’s Bench and Family Division is designated as suitable for flexible working arrangements.

The move follows legislation in April, supported by the senior judiciary and Judicial Appointments Commission, enabling flexible part-time working for the High Court with a view to increasing the diversity of candidates.

The commission said it hopes in particular to encourage candidates who might not previously have considered applying to do so. The flexible working patterns available include working for a set number of days a week, working a minimum of 60% of a full-time job, or a 50-50 job share.

Women made up a third of the last appointments to the High Court and a record number of women  – 19 – now sit in the High Court. Three of the 10 most recent appointments to the Court of Appeal were women.

JAC chair Christopher Stephens said: ‘Women have been making good progress at the entry and middle levels of the judiciary for some time and it is very positive to see this filtering through to the High Court.

‘Women should be encouraged by this and apply in greater numbers –when they do apply they are achieving high levels of success.’

Deputy president of the Supreme Court Lady Hale said: ‘We know we need a more diverse judiciary, especially in the higher ranks. We know there are plenty of able women and other diverse lawyers out there who could be great judges. There are fewer barriers now than ever before. But if you don’t apply they can’t appoint you – you have to be in it to win it.’