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Hannah Gannagé-Stewart

Deputy Editor, Solicitors Journal

MOJ reveals lingering lack of diversity among judiciary

MOJ reveals lingering lack of diversity among judiciary


Report demonstrates failure to make meaningful improvements in judicial diversity

New figures from the Ministry of justice (MOJ) reveal just one percentage point of improvement in critical judicial diversity metrics over the past year.

The report says that there has been just one per cent increase in the number of women judges in the past 12 months can be seen in the numbers of women judges, with representation decreasing in the higher courts.

The figures record 47 per cent of tribunal judges were women, 32 percent of court judges were women and 26 per cent for High Court and above.

Figures relating to ethnicity show similarly negligible improvements, with BAME court judges making up 8 per cent of the total and 12% of the total tribunal judges. In 2019 the figures were 7 per cent and 11 percent respectively.

The higher courts again reveal a greater lack of representation, with just 4 per cent of people self-identifying as BAME in the High Court and above.

The report also shows that the numbers of court roles coming from the solicitors profession has fallen. Just 32 per cent of court judges came from non-barrister backgrounds compared with 63 per cent of tribunal judges. 

Commenting on the statistics, Law Society president Simon Davis said: “Across all the legal selection exercises run by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) women made up 50 per cent of applicants, BAME people accounted for 25 per cent and solicitors for 58 per cent. So the good news is that the pool of applicants is increasingly diverse. It is however particularly disappointing then to see the present disparity of successful outcomes.”

Davis pledged to work with the JAC’s Judicial Diversity Forum to gain a better understanding for the disparities and to improve application processes.

“Meanwhile, we also will continue to work with the SRA and LSB, as well as our membership, on increasing the diversity and inclusivity of the profession at all levels”, he added.

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