Diversity on the High Court Bench

Initiatives to broaden diversity in the judiciary are paying off at High Court level.

Official statistics from the Judicial Appointments Commission (“JAC”) show women and black minority ethnic (“BME”) lawyers performed well in the recent High Court selection process between April and September 2010.


Among 13 successful candidates, two were BME and two were women. Some 15 of the 90 applicants were women.

Lord Justice Toulson, Vice Chair of the JAC, said: “Women and BME candidates have done well in all exercises run over this six-month period.
“This is good news and I hope it continues. Further part-time opportunities may help this, as well as enhancing flexibility at a time when reduced government spending makes this important.

“The first ILEX Fellow also became a judge during this time, emphasising that there are various routes by which a person can acquire and show the qualities and abilities for judicial appointment.”

However, Toulson LJ added that a “disappointing” number of solicitors had applied and been recommended.

“Many solicitors do not seek a judicial career,” he said.

“This is often due to personal reasons or because they do not feel supported by their firms. We are working with the Law Society on how to tackle this. We will be publishing a longer term analysis and recommendations in the New Year.”

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