The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs is the first black person in the senior judiciary of England and Wales, being appointed a high court judge in 2004.
Dame Linda Penelope Dobbs was born in 1951. Her mother was from Sierra Leone and her father was an English lawyer who went on to serve as a High Court judge in Sierra Leone.
Linda Dobbs studied Russian and Law at the University of Surrey, graduating in 1976. She went to the London School of Economics and Political Science where she obtained a Masters degree in Law, followed by a Doctorate in Soviet criminology and penology.
She was called to the Bar in 1981 and started practising from 5 King’s Bench Walk, the chambers of the then Attorney-General Sir Michael Havers QC. She had a mixed criminal practice, but in later years specialised in fraud and professional disciplinary tribunals, including the General Medical and Dental Councils. She took silk in 1998.
She was a member of Bar Council Committees and chaired the Professional Standards Committee and the Race Relations Committee. In 2003, she became the Chairperson of the Criminal Bar Association, the biggest specialist association at the Bar.
She was appointed Judge of the High Court in 2004. On her appointment to the High Court, Mrs Justice Dobbs said –
Whilst this appointment might be seen as casting me into the role of standard bearer, I am simply a practitioner following a career path. I am confident, nevertheless, that I am the first of many to come.
Linda is very well respected in her profession and is known as an eloquent public speaker. She has been awarded five Honorary Doctorates since 2006. She has appeared on radio and television in both the UK and abroad and contributes to a number of legal publications. She also does pro bono international training of judges and lawyers abroad.
Dame Linda Dobbs DBE appeared in the Black Britannia exhibition in London by Daily Mirror photographer John Ferguson, and was also included in the list of Britain’s 10 most powerful black women and the 100 Great Black Britons.
Mrs Justice Dobbs will be the keynote speaker at the launch of EMBRACE – LSE’s black and ethnic minority staff network – on the 31st of March, 2011. (For more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org)