Women at the House - Joanna Smith

Photo of Joanna SmithThe fourth in our series of films featuring Christ Church Women is on The Honourable Mrs Justice Joanna Smith DBE who read Jurisprudence, and matriculated in 1986.

Joanna grew up in a family of medics and spent much of her childhood moving around, following her father’s work as an RAF Doctor. Before coming up to Christ Church, Joanna's passion was in theatre and she wanted to become an actress. During her time at the House, she was taught by Teddy Burn and John Cartwright; they both gave her the confidence to pursue her career as a barrister.

Called to the Bar in 1990, Joanna went on to specialise in professional negligence, commercial litigation and construction. She was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2009. Joanna qualified as a mediator and in recent years has sat as an arbitrator. She was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2017 and High Court Judge in 2020.

In the film, Joanna discusses how she climbed the legal career ladder in this male-oriented industry and describes her journey from Jurisprudence to Judge alongside her companions at the House.