In 2004, Dame Linda Dobbs was the first BME person to be appointed to the High Court of England and Wales where during her tenure she was the Senior Liaison judge for diversity, chaired the Magisterial Committee of the Judicial Studies board and the International Committee of the Judicial College.
Dame Linda came to Britain from Sierra Leone when she was seven years old. Her father had been a High Court judge there. After studying for a BSc from the University of Surrey, she came to LSE to study for an LLM and then went on to write a PhD thesis on “Juvenile justice in the Soviet Union”, under the supervision of Professors Hall Williams and Ivo Lapenna. Dame Linda was called to the Bar in 1981. Her practice at 18 Red Lion Court was predominantly criminal, specialising mainly on serious fraud, customs and excise cases and serious sexual offences. She took silk in 1998. Amongst other appointments was chair of the Professional Standards Committee and the Criminal Bar Association.
Since standing down from the bench, Dame Linda has been active sitting as an acting judge in the Grand Cayman, as a Judicial Commissioner under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, and as the Independent Assessor for Miscarriages of Justice Compensation. She has also conducted a number of inquiries. She is also the Director of Training at the Judicial Institute for Africa based at the University of Cape Town, where she holds an honorary professorship. She is a patron of various charities, including the African Prisons Project and is the former President of International Lawyers for Africa. She is chair of the UK - Sierra Leone ProBono Network.
She was a long-time member of the LSE Court of Governors, chaired the LSE Ethics Policy Committee and served as a commissioner on the Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power (2016). She has been recognised as one of Britain’s most powerful black women and one of the 100 Great Black Britons, and she has featured regularly in the Power 100 List of Influential Black Britons. She is now chair of its selection panel. She says of LSE that her abiding impression and joy was its cosmopolitan nature, something we take for granted now.