Sultana Tafadar is the first hijab-wearing lawyer to be named QC
Sultana Tafadar has become the first hijab-wearing criminal lawyer to be appointed Queen’s Counsel (QC).
Sultana received her Letters Patent in a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster this week, followed by a second ceremony with her peers at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Sultana joins an elite group of lawyers to be appointed Queen’s Counsel. There are around 2,000 QCs in Britain, less than 2% of the legal profession.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s ceremonies, Sultana, a human rights, international law and criminal justice lawyer, said: “I am delighted to be one of two hijab-wearing lawyers to have been appointed Queen’s Counsel, and the first to the criminal bar. I am also thrilled to join the ranks of pioneering female QCs.
“Yet on such a day, as I rise to the pinnacle of my profession in Britain, I note with great sadness that the same opportunities are currently being denied to women wearing the hijab in other countries, such as the France.”
“Representation is important and the Bar can be difficult ground for those of us from non-traditional backgrounds, but that is changing. Sixteen years ago, when I started at the bar, it was an isolated place: there were few black and ethnic minority women, and no other criminal lawyers wearing the hijab.
“We are breaking down these barriers, and I hope many more young women will now feel they too can reach the dizzying heights of the profession, regardless of race or religion.”
Ranked in the Legal 500, Sultana is highly regarded for her work in the areas of human rights, counter-terrorism and national security, as well as international law. His cases overlap with high-profile criminal trials that have helped set important precedents. She also advises states and organizations on human rights and international law; and provides advice on equality, diversity and inclusion to large multinational companies.
Sultana was born and raised in Luton to Bangladeshi immigrant parents (Photos: David Jensen)
Sultana is involved in the legal campaign to end the hijab ban in France. Later this year, she will make important observations to the United Nations on how the French government violates international law in areas such as civil rights and gender discrimination, as well as violations of religious freedom and economic rights. women.
Born and raised in Luton to Bangladeshi immigrant parents, Sultana grew up wanting to change the world for the better. Having excelled in professions such as medicine and teaching, her hijab-wearing relatives had already proven that being a visibly Muslim woman was no obstacle to success.
Sultana said she was inspired by the American civil rights movement.
She said: “Growing up in the 80s and 90s I saw a lot of injustice and racism. I was inspired by the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. I knew I wanted to be an activist lawyer.
Sultana with Naeem Mian QC
While her personal journey as an ethnic minority, hijab-wearing lawyer has been difficult, Sultana said it never wavered in her quest to advance professionally and make a difference.
She added: “There were times when I was confused with the defendant or the interpreter. I faced a plethora of challenges due to my gender, race and religion.
“It’s been difficult, but I see my clients from diverse backgrounds who also experience similar discrimination. For me, the law is a tool to remedy those things and achieve great ideals like equality. It reminds me why I joined this profession and why I need to succeed.