Leading female lawyers among cadre of new deputy High Court judges

Thornton: planning specialist

Twenty one new deputy High Court judges were appointed yesterday, of whom a third were women – among them a senior government solicitor, the vice-chair of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and an academic.

The recruitment competition was aimed at those with “a serious intent to apply for a salaried appointment in the High Court in the near future”.

Appointed for a four-year term, they have to sit for up to 30 days per year, normally in blocks of one or two weeks, and are paid £856 a day.

One of the group was Rowena Rice, director-general of the Attorney General’s Office and legal secretary to the Law Officers. Ms Rice was secretary to the Leveson inquiry on press conduct and ethics.

Naomi Ellenbogen QC, was appointed vice-chair of the BSB last year, having been barrister vice-chair of its professional conduct committee. Joint head of Littleton Chambers, she specialises in employment and commercial law.

Sarah Worthington is an academic and is currently director of the Cambridge Private Law Centre. Ms Worthington was a scientist and involved in cancer research before retraining as a barrister.

As an academic, her main research has been in equity and corporate law. She is Downing professor of the laws of England and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Ms Worthington is also an honorary QC.

The other female barristers to become deputy High Court judges are planning and energy specialist Justine Thornton QC, formerly a City solicitor before becoming a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers; Kelyn Bacon QC and Veronique Buehrlen QC, both commercial lawyers, and Joanna Smith QC, who specialises in professional negligence and commercial litigation.

Only one solicitor in private practice is among the group: David Stone, a solicitor from Sydney, who was admitted here and is global head of brands at Allen & Overy.

Mr Stone is a research fellow of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre and teaches intellectual property at Oxford and Alicante Universities.

Among the other appointments of note were family lawyer Nkumbe Ekaney QC, who was the first person born in Cameroon to take silk in 2011.

Pushpinder Saini QC, the son of Sikh immigrants from East Africa, taught law at Oxford and the London School of Economics while studying for the Bar. His practice is in commercial, public and human rights law.

Nigel Poole QC, head of Kings Chambers in Manchester, is a personal injury and medical negligence specialist, acting mainly for claimants. Mr Poole sits as a recorder and has been a chair of Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service panels since 2013.

Darryl Allen QC also specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence litigation, and is a recorder. He is vice-chair of the Personal Injuries Bar Association.

Julian Knowles QC specialises in complex criminal law, extradition, human rights, public and media law. He appeared in the Pinochet extradition case, the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes and the MPs’ expenses prosecutions.

John Cavanagh QC, joint head of 11KBW chambers, specialises in employment law and is a former chair of the Employment Law Bar Association.

The other successful male barristers are commercial silks Daniel Toledano, Jonathan Turner, Nicholas Vineall, Peter Eggers, Andrew Henshaw, Edwin Johnson and David Edwards.

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