The percentage of female judges has risen and women make up more than half of the judiciary aged under 40, figures revealed.

The annual statistics from the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council showed that the percentage of female judges increased from 25% in April to 28% in April 2016. In tribunals it remained stable at 45%.

More than half (51%) of the 85 court judges under 40 years of age are women and in tribunals 64% of the 56 judges aged under 40 are women.

The number of female circuit judges rose from 146 (23%) in April 2015 to 160 (26%) in April 2016, but women still struggle to break into the most senior appointments. In the Court of Appeal eight of the 39 (21%) judges are female and 22 (21%) of the 106 High Court judges are women.

The percentage of judges from ethnic minority backgrounds fell from 6% to 5% in the courts and remained at 9% in tribunals.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, said it was ‘encouraging’ that the overall percentage of female judges in courts has increased, but that it was ‘an area of concern’ that there had been no improvement in either courts or tribunals in the total percentage of judges from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The judiciary, he said, ‘must be truly open to everyone of the requisite ability’ and he hoped that the initiatives being pursued would increase diversity.