Rabinder Singh QC has become the first Sikh to be made a judge in the High Court, and will wear a turban rather than a traditional judicial wig when he takes up the appointment later this year.
Mr Singh, 47, a founding member of Matrix Chambers, has forged a name for himself as a dogged human rights lawyer.
His elevation comes at a time of concern over the lack of diversity within the judiciary, which tends to remain an overwhelmingly Oxbridge-educated white-man's world. Five new High Court judges were appointed yesterday, four of whom are white men.
The House of Lords constitution committee is investigating diversity within the judiciary. Of the 3,598 judges in England and Wales in 2010, just 20.6 per cent are women and 4.8 per cent from ethnic minorities.