Women solicitors urged to apply to the bench

The Association of Women Solicitors (AWS) has launched a campaign to encourage more women to apply for judicial appointments.

Matilda Rubens

Matilda Rubens

The two-year campaign was kicked off with a workshop, run in conjunction with the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) on 3 September, to give female solicitors guidance on making applications to the bench.

AWS honorary secretary Matilda Rubens, who is spearheading the campaign, said anecdotal evidence ­suggested that women solicitors lack the confidence to apply to the judiciary.
“The AWS decided to roll this campaign out to arm women with the knowledge and confidence to make an application,” she said. “We hope it will have a knock-on effect on the number
of female solicitors we’re ­seeing right at the top of the profession.”

According to figures from the JAC, women now make up 28 per cent of deputy ­district judges and 20 per cent of circuit judges.

Five of the 22 High Court judges recently recommended for appointment by the JAC are women. This means the number of female High Court judges in the UK will climb to 17 – the highest ever.

Despite this, Rubens said there was still much to be done to improve the ­number of applications from women.

She said: “There are many misconceptions surrounding the judiciary like, for example, you have to have advocacy experience and flexible working hours are not there for women with childcare responsibilities.

“However, we’re hoping this campaign goes some way to help dispel these myths.”