Posts Tagged ‘women judges’
There has long been a desire to see more female and black and minority ethnic (BAME) people appointed to the judiciary. The present Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas has promoted a number of initiatives designed to build on work already started by the Judicial Appointments Commission.
In April 2017, the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council published its latest report on progress together with – for the first time – an Action Plan for activities to be undertaken in 2017-2018.
The headline objectives of the Committee are set out in the report as follows:
In the next 12 months, we will –
continue our dialogue with BAME lawyers better to understand the barriers they face and identify what more the judiciary can do to support them;
work with the Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx to ensure that we are doing all we can to reach the broadest range of talent;
encourage more networking among the existing courts and tribunals judiciary;
run more workshops to support a greater number of candidates from under-represented groups to prepare for the selection process;
further develop our communications to potential candidates and those who have an interest in judicial diversity; and
improve the monitoring and evaluation of our initiatives.
While these aims may seem little bland, detailed reading of the report reveals that there is intended to be an extensive programme of workshops, mentoring, outreach and other initiative designed to encourage those from groups currently under-represented in the judiciary to think about law and a judicial career.
The report also provides a link to a number of judges talking about their experience in becoming a judge – designed to inspire others to contemplate following their path. See https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/judges-career-paths/videos-judges-talk-about-their-judicial-careers/
Getting membership of the judiciary more reflective of the population as a whole is a challenge that the Judicial Appointments Commission has been grappling with for many years. The latest statistics, published at the end of July 2015, suggest that some progress is being made – more with women than with those from the black and ethnic minority communities.
The headline figures from the latest statistical report show:
- Eight out of 38 Court of Appeal judges are women (21 per cent). In April 2014 the number was seven (18 per cent)
- The number of High Court judges who are women remains at 21 out of 106, (now 108), (19 per cent)
- The number of female Circuit Judges increased from 131 in April 2014 to 146 in April 2015 (going from 20 per cent to 23 per cent)
- More than half (53 per cent) of the 60 court judges under 40 years of age are women.
- In tribunals, 56 per cent of the 89 judges under 40 are women
- The overall percentage of female judges has increased in both the Courts and Tribunals from April 2014 to April 2015 from 24.5% to 25.2% in the Courts and 43.0% to 43.8% in the Tribunals
- The percentage of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) judges across Courts and Tribunals is unchanged at 7 per cent
- 12 per cent of judges across Courts and Tribunals under 50 years of age are from a BME background
- 36 per cent of Courts judges were not barristers by professional background (down from 37 per cent). In Tribunals the figure is 67 per cent (down less than one per cent).