Exhibition: Celebrating a Century of Women in Law

This exhibition celebrates the centenary of the admission of women to the legal profession.

The first woman to become a member of an Inn was Helena Normanton, who was admitted to Middle Temple on 24 December 1919, following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act. Called to the Bar in November 1922, she went on to be the first female barrister to appear in the High Court, in 1922, and the first woman to obtain a divorce for a client.  

She was swiftly followed by eight more women who were Called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1922 and by others who were admitted as solicitors or called to the Bar by Inner Temple, Lincoln’s and Gray’s Inns.

Our pioneers at Middle Temple include Monica Cobb, the first woman to hold a brief in Court, Sybil Campbell the first woman stipendiary magistrate (full-time judge), Barbara Calvert, the first woman Head of Chambers in 1974; Barbara Mills, the first woman to be made Director of Public Prosecutions in 1990 and Patricia Scotland the first black woman to be appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991.

Middle Temple today has in excess of 8000 women members, 160 women benchers, amongst whom are several High Court judges, one Court of Appeal judge and many very distinguished law professors at universities throughout the UK.We are proud of their achievements and celebrate 100 years of women practising law. We look forward to the next hundred years of women’s contribution to the Bar of England and Wales.

Dates: 2 September 2019 – 31 January 2020

Times: Weekdays 10:00 - 11:30 & 15:30 to 17:00 (Subject to other commitments.)

Find out more about the exhibition here