Page 6 - Judicial Diversity Update report
P. 6


       In 2017, JUSTICE published its report Increasing Judicial Diversity, which set out
       the case for judicial diversity and explored the structural barriers faced by women,
       visible BAME people and those from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds
       in reaching the bench. This Update builds on that report. It assesses the progress that
       has been made since 2017, outlines critical remaining areas of concern and makes
       further recommendations for improving judicial diversity.

       Like the original report, it focusses on the diversity of the senior courts in England
       and Wales (namely the Circuit Bench, High Court and Court of Appeal) and the UK
       Supreme Court and looks at the appointment of women, Black, Asian and Minority
       Ethnic (BAME) candidates, non-barrister candidates and those from a lower socio-
       economic background. In addition to the original report it also considers the disability
       and sexual orientation and gender identity.
       This Update finds that despite the clear case for increased judicial diversity progress
       has remained slow:

          •  Gender has seen the most positive developments over the last two years,
              with noticeable gains in the proportion of women at the Circuit bench in
              particular.  However,  this  progress  is  fragile  and  significant  challenges

          •  There has been a stagnation in the appointment of BAME judges. Whilst
              increased outreach efforts have seen an increase in BAME applicants this has
              not translated into appointments of BAME judges. The very low number of
              BAME  judges  in  the  senior  judiciary  poses  an  acute  challenge  to  the
              credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary, representing a challenge for trust
              and confidence with minority communities.

          •  Solicitors continue to apply for senior judicial office in much lower numbers
              than their proportion of the estimated eligible pool and their relative success
              rates compared with barristers remain poor. In particular, solicitors struggle
              to get appointed to the two key feeder roles to senior appointment – Recorder
              and Deputy High Court Judge.

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