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Nicola Laver

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Judicial appointment for young solicitor

Judicial appointment for young solicitor


A young, BAME solicitor has been appointed as a deputy master in High Court's Chancery Division

A solicitor has been appointed a deputy master in the High Court’s Chancery Division.

Jason Raeburn’s appointment is notable because of his young age, his ethnicity and his non-barrister background.

At 32, he is the youngest person to be appointed a deputy master in the High Court.

Though raised in Britain, Raeburn’s father is from Grenada and his mother from Ireland.

Before his appointment there were no deputy masters from a black and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

Raeburn is a solicitor advocate and a senior associate at Baker & McKenzie, where he trained and qualified in 2012 and now specialises in intellectual property law and technology disputes.

He was shortlisted for solicitor advocate of the year Law Society Excellence Awards in 2018.

According to the latest statistics from the Judicial Office (June 2020), most court judges are barristers with representation of solicitors falling throughout the judicial selection process.

Less than one third of judges are from non-barrister backgrounds, mainly solicitors; and a large majority are older than 50.

The statistics also revealed that BAME individuals applying for judicial appointment are less likely to be successful – just 8% of court judges and 12% of tribunal judges identified as BAME at 1 April 2020.

Law Society of England and Wales president Simon Davis commented how solicitors are under-represented on the bench, “comprising just 33% of all court judges and significantly less among senior judiciary although they make the majority of judicial applicants”.

He added: “The solicitor profession numbers some 190,000 and is diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background.

“Drawing from this pool in greater numbers is likely to enhance judicial diversity and bring new skillsets and experiences to the judicial process and decision-making.”

With judges central to upholding the rule of law, Davis said it is important that the judiciary reflects the diversity of the society it serves.

“The Law Society will work with stakeholders to support solicitors interested in judicial appointment, and continue to advocate for more solicitors to be appointed to this role and in the wider judiciary,” he said.