Race to the Bench

Date / time
Date(s) - 26/05/2021
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


It has been just over a year since JUSTICE published Increasing Judicial Diversity: An Update, which shone a particular light on the continued appointment of an overwhelmingly white senior judiciary.

This new event will discuss why racial diversity in the senior judiciary matters, the obstacles to the appointment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic judges, and will explore what can be done to increase the appointment of quality candidates from racial minorities.

We are delighted to be joined by the Head of Equality and Inclusion for the judiciary, Dame Ingrid Simler, as well as two Silks who sit as fee-paid judges to discuss their experiences and lead this important discussion on diversity within the judiciary and legal sector.

This free event is for JUSTICE Members – join JUSTICE today.

Members Tickets

Our panel:

Dame Ingrid Simler
Dame Ingrid Simler was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in 1987, having read law at Cambridge University, and completed a post-graduate diploma in EU law at the Europa Institute, University of Amsterdam. She practised at the Bar at Devereux Chambers (where she became head of chambers before becoming a judge). She was appointed to the Attorney General’s Civil Panel A in 2001 and as Junior Counsel to the Inland Revenue (Common Law) in 2002. She took Silk in 2006.

In 2002 she was appointed Recorder on the SE circuit. She was appointed as a Deputy High Court judge in 2010. She became a Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) in October 2013. In January 2015 she was appointed President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal for a three year term which ended on 31 December 2018.

Having served as High Court Liaison Judge for Diversity she was appointed chair of the Diversity Committee of the Judges Council in 2019. She is also a member of the Civil Executive Team chaired by the Deputy Head of Civil Justice, reporting to the Master of the Rolls. She was sworn in as a Lady Justice of the Court of Appeal in June 2019.

Nkumbe Ekaney QC
Nkumbe is joint Head of Chambers at 1GC Family Law. He has an extensive High Court practice which encompasses all areas of Children Law. More specifically, he regularly acts in complex cases concerning serious allegations of non-accidental injury, including death, FII, sexual abuse and chronic neglect of children. He is particularly adept at dealing with the highly complex medical evidence which these cases often involve.

Nkumbe has acted for minority and immigrant parents accused of ritualistic abuse, as well as other forms of abuse justified on cultural and religious grounds, such as radicalisation. He was Leading Counsel for the father in the leading FGM case of B&G (No 2) [2015] EWFC 3. In Private Law, Nkumbe’s practice includes cases which contain allegations of serious physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children by their parents.

Nkumbe has been ranked as a Leading Individual in Legal Directories since 2008. He is renowned not only for the thorough way in which he approaches these sensitive cases, but for his relaxed, charming and yet polished advocacy style and his excellent client-care. He has been a Deputy High Court Judge since 2017.

Maya Sikand QC
Maya is ranked in Tier 1 for Civil Liberties in the Legal 500 and ranked in Band 1 for Police Law in Chambers & Partners. She was shortlisted for Civil Liberties and Human Rights Junior of the Year by Legal 500 UK Awards 2020, and Public Law Junior of the Year by Legal 500 UK Awards 2018.

Maya has established her career across both public and private law claims with a commitment to providing a voice to the marginalised. She started her working life as an advocate and campaigner for women and girls fleeing domestic violence, sexual abuse, forced marriages and other exploitation in the NGO sector. She began her legal career as a paralegal in a leading firm of solicitors before embarking on crime and human rights pupillages at Two Garden Court and Doughty Street Chambers. This invaluable experience means that she brings an intersectional approach to her legal work.

She is an editor of the leading criminal textbook Archbold and a contributor to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Law and Practice (Bloomsbury Professional, Second Edition, 2020) (see publications below). She sits as a Recorder (in Crime).