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Judicial diversity statistics 2016 and details of High Court support programme published

Date:3 AUG 2016
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Journals Manager + Online Editor
The 2016 judicial diversity statistics were published on 28 July 2016 showing the figures for April 2016.

The statistics show that in April 2016:

  • The number of woman Court of Appeal Judges remains the same as last year at eight out of 39 (21%).
  • Twenty two out of 106 High Court Judges are women (21%). In April 2015 the number was 21 (20%).
  • In the courts the percentage of female judges has increased from April 2015 to April 2016 from 25% to 28%. In tribunals it remained stable at 45%.
  • The number of female Circuit Judges increased from 146 in April 2015 to 160 in April 2016 (from 23% to 26%)
  • More than half (51 per cent) of the 85 courts judges under 40 years of age are women (53% last year). In tribunals, 64 per cent of the 56 judges under 40 are women (56% last year)
  • The percentage of judges who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic is 5% in courts (6% last year), and in tribunals 9% (stable since 2015). This is higher for judges under 40 – 8% (6% last year) for courts and 14% (15% last year) for tribunals.
  • A third (34%, compared with 36% in 2015) of court judges and two thirds (65%, compared with 67% in 2015) of tribunal judges are from non-barrister backgrounds, This varies by jurisdiction for both courts and tribunals, with judges in lower courts more likely to come from a non-barrister background.

The Lord Chief Justice said:

'The judiciary must be truly open to everyone of the requisite ability and we are hopeful that the variety of initiatives being actively pursued – led by the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council – will bring more diversity to the judiciary, more quickly.'

Later this month the Judicial Diversity Committee will be launching a support programme for those interested in applying to a High Court Judge selection exercise which it is hoped will launch in January 2017. Thirty support places are expected to be available and, as this is a diversity initiative, these will be limited to candidates from areas where we know the judiciary is significantly less representative of society – women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates and those from a less advantaged background.

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In addition to an intensive workshop on the process itself, the programme will give participants the opportunity to shadow a judge in the High Court and to speak to him or her about the nature of the work. This is linked to a rolling programme of support being offered to people seeking judicial office or wanting to progress within the judiciary.

Applicants will be invited to submit a CV and complete a personal statement of no more than 500 words stating why they are considering applying to the High Court, how they believe their skills and experience would equip them for appointment and what they would hope to gain from the programme. They will also be asked to give a signed undertaking that they are seriously considering applying for appointment to the High Court in the next selection exercise. The programme is intended to help candidates make a stronger application to that exercise; but once they have completed the programme, they will have to compete on merit with the other applicants for High Court appointment.

Applications for the support programme will be open from the end of August, successful candidates will be notified in mid September and the workshop will be held in November. Please contact diversity@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to be notified when the process opens.

Judicial diversity figures for 2016 can be found here. The first progress report of the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council is available to download here.