Before school closure, we were delighted to receive a visit from Sandy Canavan, a circuit judge from Snaresbrook Court (the largest in Europe). Sandy provided a fascinating history into how circuit judges came to be.
Covering civil, family, construction, technology law and appeals and there are 600 circuit judges in England and Wales. To become a circuit judge, you must first spend 10 years as either a barrister or solicitor, you must commence the journey by being a ‘recorder’ until another judge recommends you, and you are then appointed by a committee.
Circuit judges were created by Henry II to travel around the land and dispense justice. The first female judge was appointed in 1962 but was only permitted to sit on family law cases. The first ethnic minority judge was appointed in 1982 and his name Mota Singh. He was the only one exempt from wearing a wig as he wore a turban, but it had to be white. The first black female judge was appointed in 2004 and now in 2018-19, 45% of judges are women. Sandy admitted that there is still a big shortfall in the representation of ethnic minority groups within the law, as most judges are still white middle-class, privately educated males.
Students found the session was insightful, informative and inspiring. Many thanks to Sandy and Speakers4Schools for facilitating this event. It was much appreciated by students and staff alike.