The UK’s only transgender judge yesterday told those gathered at the Royal Courts of Justice ‘you are all my learned friends and always will be’ in her valedictory speech.

Master Victoria McCloud, who was the youngest person to be appointed to the King’s Bench in 2010 aged 40, announced earlier this year that she would be standing down over fears about politicising the judiciary. 

Following farewell speeches, McCloud told the packed Court 9: ‘It has been an honour and a pleasure to have many of you in front of me, all striving towards helping people in the worst of circumstances. You are all my learned friends and always will be.’

Master Victoria McCloud

Master McCloud announced earlier this year that she would be standing down over fears about politicising the judiciary

Source: Avalon

Sarah Crowther KC opened the event by quoting McCloud herself. She added: ‘I have spoken and emailed with many people regarding this occasion and I have been struck with the universal high regard you are held. Several people have noted how kind you always are and how dedicated you are to achieving justice.’

Eliciting laughs from the audience, Crowther told an anecdote highlighting McCloud’s ‘excellent judicial manner and demeanour, some might call it a poker face’. She spoke of a remote hearing during Covid which a client joined ‘looking very suave in a jacket and tie’.

But when the client stood to adjust his screen, he ‘had not bothered to put any trousers on’.

Crother said: ‘Judicial discretion was maintained at all times.’

She added: ‘Thank you very much judge for everything you have done for the personal injury bar and justice in general. We do wish you very well.’

Chair of Personal Injuries Bar Association (PIBA) Emily Formby said: ‘It is sad to note that you do not feel able to continue in post and did not feel supported by the judicial framework to enable you to do so. You have been so supportive of many of us.’

Acknowledging her role as the first female chair of PIBA, Formby said: ‘I am standing on the shoulders of so many, and I include you in that.’

Carine Patry KC read out a letter from a young trans woman who said: ‘Your decision to stand down does not change anything. You have achieved everything and will continue to do so. I promise that I will always fight to achieve as much as you have in your name as well as mine.’

Speaking on behalf of trans and non-binary lawyers and legal academics, Oscar Davies said: ‘You have shown this country that trans people can be the best lawyers and we hope one day we can look at the bench with many members of our community included. Thank you for walking so we can run, hopefully not run out of the profession but run up through it with grace and success as you have done.’