What can be done about judicial diversity?

Ideas for achieving better diversity in the senior judiciary of England and Wales were discussed at a panel event, organised by the London Solicitors Litigation Association and JUSTICE, on Monday 20 March.

In the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court there are only two judges who are from non-white ethnic minority groups, and only around 30 of these judges are women. Women and BAME people are also underrepresented on the Circuit bench.

The Brief covered the event for The Times, focusing on the Right Honourable Lord Justice Hickinbottom’s suggestion that a new judicial college could encourage lawyers to join the bench earlier in their careers. He acknowledged that this “would be expensive” but said, “it would change the face of our judiciary very quickly”.

Solicitors Journal’s coverage of the event looked at the idea of more solicitors becoming judges, including summarising the position of individual panel members on this issue.

Ahead of the event, Ed Crosse of Simmons & Simmons outlined some of the key issues and ideas when it comes to judicial diversity in the New Law Journal.

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, chaired the event, which was hosted by London law firm Simmons & Simmons. Closing remarks were given by the Right Honourable Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury (President of the Supreme Court). The panel members were:

  • The Right Honourable Lord Justice Hickinbottom
  • The Honourable Mrs Justice Maura McGowan
  • Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers, Deputy High Court Judge
  • George Lubega, Partner at Nabarro LLP and Adjudicator for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal
  • Francesca Kaye, Partner at Russell-Cooke LLP, Deputy Chancery Master and Deputy District Judge, and past President of the LSLA

In late April 2017, JUSTICE will publish the final report of its Judicial Diversity working party, which will reimagine the appointment and promotion of judges, with a view to a more inclusive, diverse judiciary.