The Court of Appeal reached a new milestone this week -- an all women bench for the first time in its 153-year history.

President Ellen France, Justice Christine French and Justice Helen Winkelmann sat as a permanent court of three women for the first time this week.

New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said it was another step in a long road to equality.

"The current statistics relating to the advancement of women in the profession are not something of which we should be proud.


"This momentous occasion is a great step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.

"The Law Society has made it one of our key focal points for the last two years and we will continue to strive to encourage and foster the advancement of women in the profession.

"This is a great example for the whole New Zealand legal profession and we hope this is an indicator of great things to come."

New Zealand Law Society statistics show 29 per cent of New Zealand's judges are women, compared with 47 per cent of New Zealand's lawyers.