High Court appoints first black judge

Criminal barrister Linda Dobbs QC has been appointed the first black full-time High Court judge in English legal history.

The 18 Red Lion Court barrister will be sworn in to her £150,878-a-year post next month. Black solicitors and barristers have until now never progressed beyond circuit and part-time judicial roles. Dobbs’ appointment reflects the Lord Chancellor’s efforts to create a more representative bench at a time of greater transparency in the process of judicial selection.

As current chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, Dobbs, 53, has fought hard for QC status, seeing it as an opportunity for black barristers, but she always advocated that the appointment should be made solely on merit.

She was appointed a part-time High Court judge in February after a bar career spanning two decades.