All but one of nine new High Court judges were at Oxbridge


Steyn: Non-Oxbridge appointee

Nine new High Court judges have been named this week, all but one of whom attended Oxford or Cambridge universities.

The Judicial Appointments Commission said that, following an open competition launched in November 2018, it received 64 applications and made 17 recommendations for appointment in June 2019.

The exercise was open to practitioners with or without previous judicial experience, but all of these appointments have it.

Further appointments will be announced in coming months.

The non-Oxbridge appointment was Karen Steyn QC of 11KBW. Born in South Africa and brought up in Kent, where she attended local state schools, she studied history at Liverpool University.

Called to the Bar in 1995, the 48-year-old’s practice covered a range of public law, human rights, public international and information law. She was appointed a QC in 2014 and deputy High Court judge in 2016.

Assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division from 1 October, she replaces the retiring Mr Justice King.

Pushpinder Saini QC, the son of Punjabi Sikh immigrants from East Africa and educated at a comprehensive school in West London, he taught law at Oxford and the London School of Economics while studying for the Bar.

He was called in 1991 and was in practice at 2 Hare Court and then Blackstone Chambers, specialising in commercial law, public law, EU law and human rights. He became a QC in 2008 and a deputy High Court judge in 2017.

Assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division, he will take up appointment on 1 October following the elevation of Lord Justice Males.

William Trower QC, 59, was called in 1983 and appointed a QC in 2001. Former head of South Square, he specialises in insolvency and corporate restructuring, banking and company law, acting as leading counsel for the administrators of Lehman Brothers. He was appointed a deputy High Court judge in 2007.

He will take up appointment on 1 October in the Chancery Division following the retirement of Mr Justice Peter Smith – although that was two years ago.

John Cavanagh QC, 59, was a residential social worker at a community home school in Scotland before studying law, and worked in law firms in Chicago before being called to the Bar in 1985.

He has spent his career at 11KBW, where he was joint head. He specialised in employment law and related areas of commercial, public, and European law, and became a QC in 2001. He took his first judicial post in 2004 and became a deputy High Court judge in 2017.

He replaces new Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Green and has been assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.

Aged 45, Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Court Chambers is the youngest of the new appointments. Called in 1997, he specialises in public law, human rights, EU and international law, establishing the right of same-sex spouses to survivors’ pensions. He was appointed QC in 2013 and a deputy High Court judge in 2016.

He will take up appointment on 1 October following the retirement of Mrs Justice Slade, and has been assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.

Her Honour Judge Jennifer Eady QC, who was state-school educated, was the first generation of her family to go to university.

Called in 1989 and made QC in 2006, she specialised in employment and discrimination law. After fee-paid judicial posts, in 2013 she was appointed a senior circuit judge, assigned to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division, the 54-year-old will take up appointment on 1 October following the retirement of Mr Justice Langstaff.

Alison Foster QC, 62, attended a grammar school and completed the law conversion course with the benefit of scholarships from Jesus College Oxford and Inner Temple. She was called in 1984 and became a QC in 2002.

Her practice at 39 Essex Chambers encompasses most areas of public law and regulation including tax, acting both for and against the government. She appeared in a wide range of cases, from arguing that a jaffa cake is a biscuit for the purposes of VAT to representing the family of Cheryl James in the Deepcut Barracks inquest.

She was appointed a deputy High Court judge in 2008. Assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division, she will take up appointment on 1 October following the promotion of Lord Justice Haddon-Cave.

Jeremy Johnson QC of 5 Essex Court was called in 1994 and practises general common law and public law. He recently represented South Wales Police in the first ever legal challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition technology.

Now 48, he was appointed as a recorder in 2010, a QC in 2011, and a deputy High Court judge in 2016.

Replacing the retiring Mr Justice Foskett on 1 October, he has been assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.

Frances Judd QC, 58, was called in 1984 and specialised in public and private law children’s cases. A QC since 2006, she took on her first judicial role in 2002. She was head of chambers at Harcourt Chambers between 2009 and 2018, and has been chair of the Family Law Bar Association since 2018.

Assigned to the Family Division, she will take up appointment on 3 September on the retirement of Mr Justice Bodey.




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