Ivy Williams is the first woman to be called to the English Bar.

Published 16th September 2015
Dr Ivy Williams was the first woman to be called to the English Bar on the 10th May 1922, although she never practised as a barrister, instead becoming the first woman to teach law at an English university.

Williams studied law at the Society of Oxford Home Students, and was the third female law student at Oxford. Although she completed her examinations in 1903, she was prevented from receiving her BA, MA, and BCL until Oxford allowed women to matriculate in October 1920. She joined the Inner Temple as a student in January 1920, and was called to the Bar in 1922 aged 45, after receiving a certificate of honour (first class) in her examinations, which excused her from two terms of dinners. Ivy described it as “the dream of my life”. The Law Journal in 1922 called Ivy’s call to the Bar “one of the most memorable days in the long annals of the legal profession”, although it added that the admission of women “was never likely to be justified by any success they will achieve in the field of advocacy.”
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