Our patron - Dame Linda Dobbs

Linda Dobbs made legal history when she became Britain’s first non-white High Court judge. She has been a long-time supporter of South Africa in general, and Masicorp in particular. We are delighted that she has agreed to be a patron.

mock Dame Linda meets members of the 'Sewing Club'

Her philanthropic work and interests include being a former trustee of NACRO (and now Vice-President) and the Family Welfare Association; currently a patron of the African Prisons Project, the South African Legal Education Foundation and the Lottie Betts-Priddy Educational Trust. She also carries out pro-bono, training of judges and lawyers in various African and Caribbean countries. She has most recently sponsored one of our students through tertiary education and has just agreed to sponsor another university student from Masiphumelele in our bursary programme.

Linda knows South Africa well – she has a home here and is a regular visitor. She has been a knowledgeable and great friend to us as well as a most generous donor.

We are very proud and grateful to have her patronage.

Dame Linda Dobbs - a remarkable career …

Appointed a High Court judge in October 2004, The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs DBE made legal history when she became Britain’s first non-white High Court judge. She has many titles and accolades, including Queen’s Counsel, and a number of honorary doctorates.

Dame Linda Dobbs was born in 1951 to a Sierra Leonean mother and an English father. Her father was a lawyer and later a High Court judge in Sierra Leone. Her early education was in Sierra Leone; she later attended boarding school in England. Dame Linda thought that she wanted to be an academic rather than a practising lawyer, having obtained the degrees of BSc, LL.M and PhD. However, encouraged by her family, she sat the Bar exams and was called to the Bar in 1981. She trained at the chambers of the then Attorney General, Sir Michael Havers QC where she obtained a tenancy and practised until her appointment to the high court bench.

Dame Linda Dobbs

She specialised in criminal law, her practice being predominantly in white collar crime, Customs and Excise offences and serious sexual offences – acting for both prosecution and defence. She had considerable experience of various professional disciplinary tribunals, and acted as Legal Assessor for the General Medical, General Dental and General Osteopath Councils. She also appeared pro-bono in capital appeals to the Privy Council, representing those facing the death sentence.

She was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1998 and a deputy high court judge in 2004. She is the Senior Liaison Judge for Diversity and is very committed to equality and diversity. She supports and mentors aspiring lawyers and welcomes schoolchildren and students into her courtroom. She is included in The Times list of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers, and also won the title of the New Nation Role Model of the Year in 2003 as well as being in the list of the 100 most influential black Britons.

Adapted by kind permission of the Black Lawyers’ Directory (BLD) 2009