The judiciary: the place judges’ daughters, not simply their sons, could make it to the highest

The Judicial Workplace has used a Excessive Court docket choose whose father was a Regulation Lord as one of many faces of a judicial variety marketing campaign.

Mrs Justice Steyn seems in social media movies answering questions on how she acquired into legislation and whether or not she confronted obstacles in her profession.

However whereas Steyn — one among comparatively few ladies within the senior judiciary — could effectively have confronted obstacles in her profession, she comes from a fairly privileged background in a single sense: being the kid of a choose. Her father, the late Lord Steyn, was a Regulation Lord (the previous identify for a Supreme Court docket justice) from 1995 to 2005.

Steyn seems on the official Judicial Workplace Instagram account in a video tagged #inclusion and #womeninlaw. The brief clip, posted final week, options Steyn’s reply to the query “Did you must overcome any obstacles to be a barrister or a choose?”. Steyn replies:

“Earlier than I began my profession I actually had a notion of barristers as all becoming a selected mould — one which I knew I didn’t match — and it took a short time for me to understand that there isn’t a mould, I didn’t have to suit any present mould or break one. In actuality particular person practices are extremely numerous and go well with individuals with so many alternative qualities and attributes”.

In an extended clip from the interview posted on Facebook, Steyn talks about how her curiosity in legislation was piqued by it requiring comparable abilities to historical past, which she studied at uni. Lord Steyn does get a point out there, though not by identify or title: Steyn recollects that when she thought of staying on in academia, “I had a chat with my father about it [and] he very gently urged that it was about time I acquired a job”.

Steyn is, clearly, her personal particular person and extremely certified — and never hiding something about her background. In a earlier interview with Counsel journal about what had impressed her to change into a barrister, the then-QC stated “I believe it might be laborious to not be impressed by my father”.

Lord Steyn, initially from South Africa, was an eminent Regulation Lord with a popularity as a liberal. He handed away in 2017.

Mrs Justice Steyn was born in South Africa however grew up in Kent, attending “native state faculties”. She studied historical past on the College of Liverpool and the Graduate Diploma in Regulation at Metropolis College. A public legislation and human rights specialist at 11KBW, she took silk in 2014 and was appointed to the Excessive Court docket in 2019. Of the 17 Excessive Court docket appointments announced last year, Steyn was the one one to not have attended Oxford or Cambridge.

A spokesperson for the Judicial Workplace informed Authorized Cheek:

“We attempt to characteristic judges from a variety of backgrounds, no matter who their dad and mom might need been. She speaks within the interview about her expertise as a lady on the bar and when she was appointed to the Excessive Court docket she was notable for being the one non-Oxbridge graduate in that spherical of appointments.”

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