Margaret Kidd

Allowing women to become advocates was an essential step in changing the nature of both the arguments being put before Courts, and the decisions made by them. Kidd’s practice centred on family law, where she was appreciated by her contemporaries as adding a new dimension to old problems.
Catriona Cairns

Black and white photo of Margaret Kidd in her wig and gown

Margaret Kidd from The Sphere (13 Mar 1926), image copyright to the British Newspaper Archives

Margaret Henderson Kidd’s (1900-1989) life was a series of firsts: first woman member of the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar) in July 1923, first woman advocate (barrister) to appear before the House of Lords and a parliamentary select committee, first woman King’s Counsel in the United Kingdom, and the first woman member of the Scottish judiciary (as sheriff-principal).

She was a remarkable woman. Typically for her generation, Margaret Kidd denied having faced any discrimination at work during her career while at the same time remarking that ‘if I’d been a man I might have built up a bigger practice.’

Kidd followed Madge Easton Anderson, the first woman in the United Kingdom to qualify as a solicitor in December 1920, Ivy Williams, the first woman called to the Bar in England and Wales in May 1922, and Helena Normanton, the first woman to practice at the Bar in England and Wales. Frances Kyle was the first woman called to the Bar in Ireland, in November 1921 and Averil Deverell was the first woman to practise at the Irish Bar.

The full version of this landmark is written by Catriona Cairns.

 

Learn More

Stewart McRobert, ‘A Bar Removed’ (The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, 20 October 2014) http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Magazine/59-10/1014597.aspx