Dame Sue Carr Emerges as First Woman to Lead Judiciary in 755 Years

Dame Sue Carr Emerges as First Woman to Lead Judiciary in 755 Years

History unfolded in a momentous event as Dame Sue Carr assumed the role of head of the judiciary of England and Wales, making her the first woman ever to do so.

judiciary lead by first woman in 755 years

The Royal Courts of Justice bore witness to this extraordinary occasion, hosting a special swearing-in ceremony that marked Carr’s official appointment as the inaugural Lady Chief Justice of the country. She now holds the distinction of being the 98th person to occupy this esteemed position, shattering the glass ceiling as the first woman to take on this historic role.

Adding to the significance of the event, Dame Sue Carr’s family joined her at this historic ceremony, which was also streamed live on YouTube, extending the reach of this momentous moment to a global audience for the very first time.

Dame Sue Carr, reflecting on her appointment, offered her thoughts, saying:

“It is a great privilege to assume this role. I would like to pay tribute to Lord Burnett who has demonstrated extraordinary resilience and leadership during a time of great change, including keeping the courts running during the pandemic. He has personally given so much to the law and to the judiciary.”

She continued,

“I do not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead, and I look forward to approaching the role with energy, enthusiasm, and positivity. The rule of law is a fundamental constitutional principle which underpins an open, fair, and peaceful society, where citizens and businesses can prosper. Our judges and magistrates are its cornerstone.”

Dame Sue Carr’s journey in the legal realm commenced in 1987 when she was called to the bar. Her early career included pupillage at Brick Court Chambers and 2 Crown Office Row, now known as 4 New Square, where she became a tenant in 1988. Over the years, her legal practice flourished, encompassing a wide array of commercial matters, ultimately leading to her elevation as Queen’s Counsel in 2003.

Her judicial journey began in 2009 when she was appointed as a recorder. Subsequently, in 2013, she ascended to the High Court bench and, most recently, in 2020, she achieved the esteemed position of a Court of Appeal judge.

Dame Sue Carr’s appointment comes on the heels of Lord Burnett’s retirement, who had held the office since 2017, marking a historic transition in the leadership of the English and Welsh judiciary.

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