The latest figures from the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) show an alarming lack of diversity amongst applicants. There were no black and ethnic minority applicants for senior judicial roles, and while ethnic minority candidates made up 20% of applicants, only 6% of those were recommended for appointment. It is great to see prominent Bar leaders speaking up about this now. Before action can be taken to remedy this, awareness of the issue needs to be raised.
Although change may come slowly, we need to be talking about the issue now and working together to figure out how we can improve diversity in our judiciary, especially as Britain is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The UK judiciary should reflect the demographic it serves.
In 2015, Byfield Consultancy and diversity champion and award winning lawyer leading the legal team at Roche UK, Funke Abimbola, published a report entitled ‘Opening up or shutting Out?’. This report presents the results of a survey of the top 50 UK law firms and their approach to social mobility and diversity.
Bar leaders urged action yesterday to boost the numbers of ethnic minority candidates for the judiciary after figures showed a large discard rate among applicants for judicial jobs. The latest figures from the Judicial Appointments Commission showed that ethnic minority candidates made up 20 per cent of applicants but only 6 per cent of recommendations for appointment for judicial posts. They also made up 23 per cent of deputy district judge applicants but only 6 per cent of recommendations for appointment. There were no black and ethnic minority applicants for senior judicial roles. Solicitors also fared badly: 43 per cent of applicants for legal jobs were from that side of the legal profession but they represented only 10 per cent of appointments.