‘On the bench, in the jury box, THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THEM’.
From medieval times to the early twentieth century this was the view of women in relation to the Law. In 1913 Gwyneth Bebb, top law student of her year at Oxford, together with a cohort of similarly qualified women (including Nancy Nettlefold of Birmingham-based family engineering business GKN) challenged The Law Society’s refusal to allow them to become solicitors based on the ‘disqualification of sex’. These pioneering women battled extraordinary prejudice from the male legal and parliamentary establishment but despite endless setbacks over nearly a decade they finally prevailed to allow the equality of entrance we know today.
The Kalisher Trust is a legal charity whose motto is ‘inspiring advocacy’. Its goals are those of the women behind the landmark case in 1913; to seek out and support the brightest and the best future advocates whatever their gender, social, ethnic or cultural background to ensure that our justice system is as diverse and accessible as possible.
What happened to the extraordinary, talented lawyer who gave her name to this landmark case? This performance of Alex Giles’ fascinating new play, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MISS BEBB, tells her inspiring and tragic story which resonates powerfully with the work of The Kalisher Trust a century later.
Stars of stage and screen Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed, Inspector George Gently, The Professionals), Laura Main (Call the Midwife – Sister Bernadette and now Mrs Turner) and Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle’s War) are gathering in Birmingham to support legal charities on Sunday 21st October.
To accompany the play reading there will be an afternoon conference to discuss the issues which still present barriers to access to the legal profession today.
Joining Kalisher President, Martin Shaw and the professional cast will also be former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge; former President of Birmingham Law Society, Eileen Schofield and students from the university Drama Department.
Starting at 13:00, a conference on 'The future of women in the law'
Starting at 18:00, a celebrity reading of Alex Giles’ play inspired by the case of Bebb v. The Law Society
directed by Joe Harmston.
Please book via Eventbright.
The Great Hall
Birmingham, B15 2TT