Dinah Rose is a British human rights barrister who was appointed to the position of deputy judge in high court in 2016. She spoke to Concrete on the role of a barrister, particularly as a female in the bar.
What piece of advice would you give to students?
The world you’re graduating in is much more uncertain, unstable and darker than the world I graduated in but don’t lose heart because if you have got real determination to succeed then anything is really possible. It might take you a bit longer but in times of instability, you also get great creativity so you can see things that look like disasters at the moment possible as opportunities.
How do you protect yourself from media coverage surrounding large cases?
I think partly if you’re a barrister you are isolated because there is some appreciation that you’re just the mouthpiece of your client, you are not your client. In recent years that has become less clearly understood and we’ve seen instances of barristers being criticised for doing particular cases it’s important to keep reminding the media and the public that barristers are like taxis at a cab rank. They have to take any case. The fact that you take a case doesn’t mean you support the person’s case you’re taking and I think it’s vital that people understand that.
Do you think there is a problem with women in the bar?
There is a problem. Like so many professions it’s still pretty male-dominated. There are more women now in senior positions than there were but there is still a serious imbalance. The problems in the senior judiciary still exist, they haven’t gone away.
We still on have one woman in the supreme court, I hope that will change next week but even then if there are two women in the supreme court that won’t be anything like enough and I think that ultimately women have to keep pressing and men have to keep pressing for women as well. It’s not just a women’s problem, it’s everybody’s problem.