A recent statistical bulletin published by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) indicates success for women receiving appointments to the judicial bench in England and Wales, with almost half (45%) of candidates being female.
This large rise in judicial diversity follows a publication in July 2015
by the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary detailing the small but definitive increase in the number of female judges in England and Wales between April 2014–15. The JAC report, therefore, is a boon to gender diversity campaigners across the country, particularly those seeking equality in the justice system.
However, despite the welcome increase in gender diversity in the judiciary, the JAC bulletin highlights a less impressive figure for other social groups: less than 10% of all candidates were BAME or of ethnic minority origin, and only 9 of 308 recommendations (3%) were those candidates who had declared a disability of some kind.
Sam Mercer, Head of Equality and Diversity at the Bar Council
, was keen to express the need for change where ethnic minority groups and the judiciary are concerned:
‘At every stage of the process, BAME applicants did less well than their white colleagues.
‘This inequality is unacceptable. We urgently need to work in partnership with organisations across the legal sector, and with government, to find out why this distortion is occurring and take immediate measures for correction.’
The full bulletin is available to view and download here