Page 14 - Judicial Diversity Update report
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Summary of 2017 Report

            1.15.  Despite the clear case for increased judicial diversity, progress has remained
                  slow. In our original report we explored the structural barriers faced by women,
                  visible  BAME  people  and  those  from  less  advantaged  socio-economic
                  backgrounds in reaching the bench. The report called for systemic changes to
                  increase accountability and improve recruitment processes and proposed more
                  inclusive routes to the senior bench. However the key recommendations have
                  yet to be implemented. We continue to stand by the findings of the original
                  report and urge the adoption of its recommendations, in order to ensure that
                  real progress is made.

            1.16.  The key findings and recommendations of that report were as follows:

                  •  given  that  diversity  improves  the  quality  of  decision  making  and
                      legitimacy  of  the  judiciary,  the  ability  to  contribute  to  a  diverse
                      judiciary should be taken into account in the assessment of ‘merit’;
                  •  a fragmented, uncoordinated approach to judicial appointments has led to
                      a series of non-diverse appointments and “buck passing”. The Working
                      Party therefore proposed a new model of accountability centred on creating
                      a  permanent  ‘Senior  Selections  Committee’  dedicated  to  senior
                      appointments  and  introducing  ‘targets  with  teeth’,  i.e.  publicly  stated
                      targets for selection bodies, with monitoring and reporting on progress to
                      the Justice Select Committee;

                  •  selectors are influenced by stereotypes and preconceptions when assessing
                      what  the  best  applicants  ‘should’  look,  sound  and  act  like;  there  is  an
                      unacknowledged preference to recruit people like oneself. To proactively
                      appoint  more  diversely,  the  Working  Party  recommended  introducing
                      ‘appointable pools’ – the creation of a pool of individuals deemed to have
                      met the high standard of appointability for a particular court. Candidates
                      would then be selected from the pool to fill vacancies when they arose,
                      with candidates from under-represented groups being given priority; and

                  •  diversity in the judiciary will not be improved if diverse candidates do not
                      apply for judicial office. The Working Party therefore proposed specific

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