The Judicial Appointments Commission today confirmed the first five of 10 new recruits to the High Court. 

The list includes solicitor Sarah Falk, who qualified in 1986 and joined magic circle firm Freshfields, where she became a partner in 1994. Falk will be assigned to the Chancery Division from October. 

Edward Murray, 60, a solicitor and former partner at magic circle firm Allen & Overy, will be assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.

The other appointments are Judith Farbey QC, Her Honour Judge Johannah Cutts QC and His Honour Judge David Waksman QC. A further five are expected to be announced in the coming months. 

The appointments came following a selection process open to those with or without previous judicial experience, for which the JAC received 52 applications. 

While the recommendations will help to fill gaps in the judiciary, they do not bring the High Court numbers up to full strength. Last week the lord chief justice Lord Burnett of Maldon said the High Court now operates with 93 judges (around 86% of the number required) but this complement could drop to 80% next year. 

This is now the fourth year in a row the JAC has been unable to recommend enough people to fill the quota. Gazette columnist Joshua Rozenberg tweeted that no Chancery silks applied for the process, increasing the belief that pension entitlements are deterring the most experienced people from coming forward.

Cambridge graduate Falk, 56, was appointed a fee-paid deputy judge of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) in 2015. She has since sat regularly in the First-tier Tax Tribunal as well as the Upper Tribunal while continuing to work in a consulting capacity at Freshfields.

Edward Murray’s practice focused on derivatives and structured finance, acting for ISDA and a number of leading financial institutions. He was admitted as a Solicitor in 1992, appointed a a Recorder in 2009 and a deputy High Court judge in 2013.