The number of female High Court judges will rise by 10% at a stroke later this year following the appointment of two more women, one of whom will be the first Asian woman to sit at this level.
The new appointments are Her Honour Judge May QC, a circuit judge, and Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC (pictured), a barrister at 2 Hare Court chambers.
When sworn in they will take the number of women High Court judges to 23 out of 108 (21%), the highest ever. In 2005 there were ten women.
Cheema-Grubb is also the first Asian woman to be appointed to the High Court bench. Her appointment will take effect on the retirement of Mr Justice Kenneth Parker.
Aged 49, she was called to the bar in 1989 and took silk in 2013. She was appointed a recorder in 2007 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court judge.
Cheema-Grubb’s notable cases have included prosecuting barrister and recorder Constance Briscoe, who in 2014 was found guilty of three charges of perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Judge May, 54, was called to the bar in 1988 and took silk in 2008. She was appointed a circuit judge in 2008 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court judge.
May’s appointment will take effect on the retirement of Mr Justice Akenhead.
Earlier this week the lord chief justice stepped into the increasingly high-profile debate on judicial diversity.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd told the Temple Women’s Forum in Leeds that the judiciary’s Diversity Committee plan ‘is on the road to delivery’, hinting that the shortly to be announced results of the criminal and family recorder competition might show a more diverse intake.