Page 7 - Judicial Diversity Update report
P. 7

•  The judiciary continues to be largely comprised of those from a higher socio-
                economic background. This is due to a relative lack of applications from
                individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This in turn is likely to
                reflect the lack of socio-economic diversity in the pool from which judges
                are predominantly appointed, raising questions about the barriers individuals
                from lower socio-economic backgrounds face at entry to the profession, in
                particular the bar.

                •  There  is  a  lack  of  quantitative  data  on  disability  in  the  senior  judiciary.
                   However,  through  qualitative  data  collection  we  were  struck  by  the
                   inaccessibility  of  the  legal  profession  to  disabled  people  and  the  severe
                   practical difficulties of sitting as a judge faced by those with disabilities.

                •  To the extent that data on sexual orientation exists, it seems to indicate that
                   LGB  candidates  applying  for  judicial  office  stand  an  equal  chance  of
                   appointment. This view was reflected by sitting gay judges that we spoke to.
                   However, most of these judges were white men and we do not have enough
                   evidence to draw conclusions on how sexual orientation may intersect with
                   other diversity characteristics. We were also unable to gather any evidence
                   with respect to the appointment of Trans judges.
            We find that a number of our more minor recommendations from our 2017 report
            have  been  adopted.  We  welcome  these  changes  and  make  a  number  of  further
            recommendations which build on the work the JAC and judiciary have already been
            doing in respect of feedback, mentoring and support and outreach.

            However, the key structural recommendations of our original report have not been
            adopted and we believe that without the following significant structural and cultural
            changes any progress with respect to judicial diversity will be remain marginal:
                •  The current system continues to lack any real accountability. We reiterate
                    the recommendations made in our original report for “targets with teeth” and
                    a  Senior  Selections  Committee  for  appointments  to  the  Court  of  Appeal,
                    Heads of Division and the Supreme Court to address this issue.

                •  We find that the de facto career path into the senior judiciary remains via the
                    fee-paid roles of Recorder and Deputy High Court Judge. We restate the case

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