Dorothy Knight Dix

Published 15th June 2018
Dorothy Knight Dix was the first woman to sit as recorder for a jury trial and was only the second woman to be appointed to the County Court bench, following Elizabeth Lane DBE.

Dorothy Knight Dix, later Dorothy Waddy, was born on 8th September 1909 and attended school in Hampstead before studying at University of Lausanne in Switzerland and University College London. She was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1934.

In January 1936, aged 36, Dix stood in as Recorder of Deal, when Sir Archibald was taken ill. This made legal history as the first woman to hold this position. The ceiling of the courtroom collapsed later that month, which some at the time feared was a bad omen resulting from her taking this judicial post.

Dix was later Recorder of Margate between 1949-1950 and she was a member of the Legal Aid Area Committee from 1956 to 1961. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1957, before finally being appointed a County Court judge in 1968, becoming only the second woman ever to become a County Court judge, after Elizabeth Lane DBE, appointed in 1962.

Dix married Bentley Waddy, a Queen’s Counsel, in 1947, a year after her historic appointment to Recorder. She died on the 8th January 1970, aged sixty.

Written by Caroline Dix, Project Coordinator of First 100 Years