Half of judges will be women by 2033 according to new calculations, the president of the Supreme Court said today - but the higher courts still have a long way to go.

Speaking at the annual bar and young bar conference, Lady Hale said projections suggest that, according to the current rate of change, the judiciary as a whole will achieve gender parity in 14 years time. 

However, she said the situation is ‘less rosy’ in the higher courts. Tribunals have been ‘much more successful than anywhere else’ in achieving diversity. 

On women barristers’ appearances in the Supreme Court, Lady Hale said progress had been slow, increasing from 21% to 23% in the past decade.

She added: ‘We have counted appearances rather than who was on their feet. My impression is that the proportion of women on their feet was even less; that many were juniors.’ 

Lady Hale also warned of the ‘worrying’ possibility that female barristers are not being instructed to do the type of work that would qualify them to apply for silk, stating ‘we still have a long way to go in the next 100 years of women in the law’. 

Women now make up 36% of the practising bar and 16% of practising QCs.