On Tuesday 3rd October 2017 Mr Jeremy Brooks from the Judicial Appointments Commission, Her Honour Judge Anuja Dhir and Employment Judge Fiona Monk gave a talk to members of the Association of Women Solicitors and the Association of Women Barristers at a jointly hosted event held at 4/5 Gray’s Inn Square. The talk focused on encouraging women to apply for judicial appointments and all of the speakers brought their own specialist knowledge, personal experience and particular flare to the event. Mr Brooks who is the Head of Courts Senior and International Appointments spoke about the way in which the Judicial Appointments Commission appoints judges using the most fair and open methods. He encouraged those who are interested in a career in the judiciary to apply for any roles in which they may be interested. He helpfully suggested paying close attention to the JAC website and also work shadowing which he thought may provide prospective candidates with an insight into the work of our judges.
Her Honour Judge Anuja Dhir who is now sits at the Central Criminal Court spoke candidly about how she progressed to becoming a judge and about the fact that candidates have to prepare thoroughly for each stage of the process as they will be tested on their skills, ability and motivation both at the application and further at the interview stage. She encouraged candidates by saying that the JAC goes to great lengths to be fair and to women as well as those from minority groups.
Lastly Employment Judge Fiona Monk who was a solicitor and developed her practice through working for law centres followed on from the contribution made by Her Honour Judge Dhir. She spoke more about working as a judge and the fact that initially she had been concerned about going from being a fee paid judge to leaving behind her practice as a solicitor seeing clients and appearing in courts and tribunals as an advocate to being a salaried judge. Again she was very encouraging and said that in her position as a judge it gave her a more rounded perspective on her role as a solicitor and that since becoming a salaried judge she has enjoyed the same collegiate atmosphere as when she was in practice as a solicitor. The key message from all of the speakers is that there are opportunities for women lawyers and lawyers from minority groups, prepare, apply and persevere.