Anuja Dhir becomes first non-white circuit judge at Old Bailey

Working women impose their own ‘glass ceilings’, according to the Old Bailey’s first non-white circuit judge, who said she had succeeded despite not being an Oxbridge-educated man. As she took up her new role, she said that when she began her career as a barrister just getting into courtrooms was a problem. “I got used to turning up at courts and people saying to me ‘Witness?’ – No – ‘Defendant?’ – no; and looking rather surprised when I said I was the advocate,” and in the end I had to show him my wig and gown before he would actually let me into the building.

Dhir told BBC news that when she was first called to the bar in 1989, most barristers were white men, educated in public schools, who already had “some connection” to the profession. “My daughter, it would never cross her mind being treated differently because she’s a female or because she’s not white, whereas in my generation we did,” she said.

I’m often asked if there is a glass ceiling. I think sometimes there are two ceilings – or no glass ceiling at all. There is one glass ceiling that’s in our minds, that’s what we think we can achieve, so perhaps we impose our glass ceiling and that has happened to me several times.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office issued “formal advice” to Peter Herbert, criticized the election commissioner’s decision to void the election of Lutfur Rahman as mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets. So their expectation has change and that’s a lot to have change. But Anuja Dhir says she was often mistaken for a witness or defendant when she started working as a lawyer