First Women Lawyers in Great Britain & Empire – London, UK

St. Mary's University Twickenham London

St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London continues its series of symposia on the First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire, with ‘The Road to 1919’ June 29, 2018. Abstracts are due April 23, 2018. Please contact Dr Judith Bourne, judith.bourne [at]

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 heralded women’s long awaited entry to the legal profession.  What do we actually know about that journey?  How much of that struggle has been recorded?  Where is it recorded?  The ‘First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire’ Symposia seek to unite academics and researchers in this area and explore the journey of those first women lawyers.

The 2018 meeting will celebrate the centenary of the vote and examine its effect on the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. It will explore the extent to which it gave impetus to women such as Helena Normanton to make renewed attempts to join the legal profession in 1918.

The ‘First Women Lawyers Symposia’ has run successfully for three years and has drawn papers from England, Scotland, Estonia, Canada and Australia.  Submissions are welcomed from those researching in this area, including anyone with knowledge that will place the struggle for entry to the legal profession in England and Wales in an international context.

Future events in the series:

  • February 7, 2019, continuing the theme of the road to 1919 and a celebration of the Act which received Royal Assent on December 23 1919.
  • Celebration Dinner at Middle Temple Hall Saturday, January 11, 2020 (centenary of the first women Bar students’ first dinner) and exhibition opening.
  • June 2020 symposium: ‘Legacy’
  • June 2021 Symposium: ‘The other women lawyers that history has, at best forgotten, at worst ignored’
  • Nov. 17, 2022, Celebration of the November 1922 Call night

About the author

Reference librarian, University of Washington School of Law