Press release

Progress on judicial diversity, but more to do

The Government and members of the Judicial Diversity Taskforce today re-emphasised their commitment to a more diverse judiciary.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Taskforce, which includes the Government, Judiciary, Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the legal professions, pledged to maintain the pressure on the agenda as they published their first progress report, and will work towards a much more diverse judiciary at all levels by 2020.

Welcoming the progress demonstrated in the report, Justice Minister Lord McNally said:

‘We need faster progress in delivering a diverse judiciary that better reflects modern society. As the statistics in today’s report demonstrate, we have a long way to go and we need concerted action from all involved.

It is important that the legal professions continue to maintain a pool of talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds and work to publicise the benefits of a judicial career. Our common aim must be to remove the barriers, whether real or perceived, so that we attain our goal of improving the diversity of the judiciary by 2020.’

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge said:

‘We are doing everything we can to ensure that the pool of eligible candidates for consideration for judicial appointment is as wide as it can be. There is no reason why everyone eligible should not at least consider a judicial career. The larger the pool, the better potential for a more diverse judiciary.

The Judiciary had already set in motion a number of initiatives before the Neuberger Panel made its recommendations, including opportunities for work shadowing and mentoring for newly appointed judges, and we have made further progress in the last 12 months.’

Chris Stephens, chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission, said:

‘Two joint Ministry of Justice and JAC reports show that we are making inroads towards greater diversity. Women are applying and being selected in increasing numbers; black and minority ethnic lawyers are applying in larger numbers and are doing well in entry-level posts and solicitors are performing better in entry and middle ranking posts.

More needs to be done and the Taskforce members must continue to pull together to maintain and enhance an end-to-end system that is fair, selects only on merit and attracts a higher calibre of candidates from all backgrounds.’

Notes to editors

  1. The Judicial Diversity Taskforce is made up of the Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary, Judicial Appointments Commission, alongside professional bodies the Law Society, Bar Council and ILEX.
  2. The taskforce members are Chairman of the General Council of the Bar, President of the Institute of Legal Executives, President of the Law Society, Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, Lord Chief Justice, Senior President of Tribunals, and Lord McNally.
  3. The Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity, chaired by Baroness Neuberger, reported in March 2010 and made 53 recommendations aimed at achieving a much more diverse judiciary by 2020.
  4. Read the progress report of the Judicial Diversity Taskforce
  5. Read the joint MoJ and JAC reports on the diversity of judicial appointments from 1998/99 to 2008/09:

Digest of judicial appointments of Solicitors in England and Wales from 1998-99 to2008-09

Digest of judicial appointments of women and BME candidates from 1998/99 to 2008/09

Published 9 May 2011