British High Court appoints its first Sikh judge

Rabinder Singh QC has become the first Sikh to be made a judge in the High Court, and will wear a turban rather than a traditional judicial wig when he takes up the appointment later this year.

Mr Singh, 47, a founding member of Matrix Chambers. Matrix  Chambers established 10 years ago on the crest of the Human Rights Act wave. The publicity surrounding its launch was hardly hurt by the fact that it was the workplace of Cherie Booth QC, wife of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Rabinder Singh elevation comes at a time of concern over the lack of diversity within the judiciary, which tends to remain an overwhelmingly Oxbridge-educated white-man’s world. Five new High Court judges were appointed yesterday, four of whom are white men.

Singh was always seen as a high flyer. He gained prominence in 2004 when he represented Liberty in its fight against Government plans to introduce detention without trial.

The House of Lords constitution committee is investigating diversity within the judiciary. Of the 3,598 judges in England and Wales in 2010, just 20.6 per cent are women and 4.8 per cent from ethnic minorities.

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