International Day of Women Judges 2024: Interview with Bahraini Appeal Court Judge Fatima Faisal Hubail

Diversity InformationEducationalInterviewNews

Judge Fatima Faisal Hubail

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Fatima Faisal Hubail. I am a Bahraini Appeal Court Judge and I have been part of the judiciary since 2008. Currently I head the reorganisation and bankruptcy court and I am the first specialised bankruptcy judge in the Kingdom.

Prior to my appointment in the judiciary, I worked as a lawyer for two years practicing in commercial, civil, and criminal cases.

What is your background and your career journey so far?

After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I worked as a lawyer in different civil and commercial courts including enforcement courts. In 2018, after the promulgation of the new reorganisation and bankruptcy law, a specialised bankruptcy court was established, and I was appointed as its president.

What made you decide to pursue a career in law?

Going back in time, I remember that I always felt the urge to do what is right and to be fair and just to those around me. Therefore, I was fascinated with the work that judges and lawyers do. Books, novels, TV shows and movies on the topic were what filled my free time. That, and the advice of my high school’s career counsellor, led me to apply to law school..

Did you face any obstacles to become a judge in your country? If so, how did you overcome these?

I am lucky to be born in a country where women have always been highly regarded and were always treated as the other half of the community.

However, I remember on my first day in court, one of the litigants opened the courtroom door, entered, looked around in confusion then headed back to the door, before I called him and explained that he is in the right place and that I was the judge. He smiled awkwardly and grabbed a seat.

What are some highlights of your career/speciality?

I honestly love being a judge; it fills me with joy and pride. There is never a dull moment in my work and every day holds the possibility for a new learning opportunity.  One of the highlights of being a specialised bankruptcy judge is to see how I can make a difference with every restructuring case; and how I can be part of  rescuing a struggling business by allowing it to regain its operations, pay its dues, and save the jobs of its employees.

Have there been any women who have inspired you throughout your life/career?

My mother, who worked as a nursing officer heading the nursing department in a major hospital, is my biggest inspiration. She is a strong intelligent woman who is both a dedicated mother and a leader. .

Next is my dear friend and mentor whom I have learned a lot from: New York’s bankruptcy court judge Honourable Judge Elizabeth Stong. Her energy is contagious, and you will often find her running marathons whenever she is not busy in court or generously sharing her time and expertise in various local and international workshops, conferences, and seminars.

Why do you think celebrating International Women’s Day is important?

I think it is important because it serves as a reminder of the hardships many women had to endure to pave the road to success. Therefore, it is important to honour these women and to not take what we have today for granted, but rather build on it and try to make it even better for the future generations.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was ‘Inspire Inclusion’. What does this mean to you? Why is inclusion important?

Women have so much to give. So, to me ‘Inspire Inclusion’ means women should have a fair and equal chance in everything just as their male counterparts, especially when it comes to education, career, and wages. As a result, we will have a more balanced, stable, and qualified society.

What advice would you give for any girls or young women who want to pursue a career in law?

Study hard, work harder, and never give up on your dreams. You can achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it and never let anything discourage you.

Your gender does not determine what you can achieve in life; it is rather your qualifications and determination that will get you there. Simply persevere and you will eventually achieve your goals.