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Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb - Women leading the Worldwide Conversation

In this, the second of our profiles on the women who took part in the London launch of the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’, we feature The Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, the first Asian woman to be appointed to the UK High Court.

Written by Binda Rai |

The Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE
The Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE is the first Asian woman to be appointed to the UK High Court.

Women leading the worldwide conversation

The University was privileged to have Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb as the chair of the panel conversation, which followed the keynote lecture, and launched the ‘worldwide conversation’.

Born in Derby, and educated at City of Leeds School, Mrs Justice Cheema- Grubb studied Law at King’s College London. She was called to the Bar in 1989, and took pupillage at 2 Hare Court, recognised internationally as one of the leading chambers in the UK specialising in business crime, homicide, and terrorism. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb began specializing in prosecuting and defending cases of this nature, and soon gained an excellent reputation for her work. While a Barrister at 2 Hare Court, her contemporaries wrote: ‘Her well-deserved reputation for hard work and an astute tactical sense make her, for many, the first choice for the most serious criminal trials and quasi-criminal public law work.’

In 2006, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb became the first Asian woman to be appointed a Junior Treasury Counsel, a small, elite cadre of independent barristers trusted with the most serious and sensitive prosecutions in the country and she subsequently became the third woman ever to become a Senior Treasury Counsel. In that role, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb advised in many cases touching on international corruption and national security issues, prosecuted over 50 murders, and was involved in a number of significant terrorist trials. In 2007, she became a Recorder, and in 2013 she took Silk, being appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC). In 2015, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb broke down barriers for women across the UK, by becoming the first Asian woman appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016.

Throughout her career, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb has acted in a number of exceptionally high-profile cases, involving extensive media coverage. These include the prosecutions of retired Church of England Bishop, Peter Ball, for sexual abuse, and of barrister and Recorder Constance Briscoe for perverting the course of justice. In 2018, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb presided over the trial of Darren Osborne, the Finsbury Park terror attacker. After sentencing the offender to life imprisonment, she commended the reaction of one of the witnesses who had saved Osborne from an angry mob, and kept him safe until the police arrived, by imploring all citizens to ‘respond to evil with good’.

Her well-deserved reputation for hard work and an astute tactical sense make her, for many, the first choice for the most serious criminal trials and quasi-criminal public law work.

To find out more about the exceptional women leaders who participated in the launch of the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’, please see links to the profiles already published:

 Read more about the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’ London launch event and watch the video.