Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Dame Bobbie Cheema-Grubb


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THE Hon Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb is well aware of the encouraging impact of seeing someone who looks like you in a powerful job.

This conscientious approach is particularly reflected in her work, both inside and outside of the court, since 2015 when she made history by being the first Asian woman to be appointed a UK high court judge.

While she may see the elevation as part of a tide lifting many women into the high court judiciary, the barriers Dame Bobbie CheemaGrubb broke throughout her career tell a story of determination, formed by lived experiences of a daughter of Indian Sikh Punjabi parents who came to the UK in the 1960s.

Growing up in Yorkshire where her father did manual work and mother was a seamstress, she would accompany her parents, who couldn’t speak English well, to meetings with the council or employers to translate.

She would later write about the stereotyping she felt at those meetings, which would dawn in a sense of justice, and injustice, in the young Bobbie.

Her volunteering at a law centre in Leeds during her teens would show her a practical, flexible and creative way of finding solutions.

She studied law at King’s College London and chose a career as a criminal law barrister.

She was called to the Bar in 1989, and worked at 2 Hare Court, specialising in prosecuting and defending cases related to business crime, homicide, and terrorism.

She has earned plaudits from the legal fraternity and attracted media attention with high-profile cases, including the successful 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.

Her chamber would write: “Her well-deserved reputation for hard work and an astute tactical sense make her, for many,

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