Almost two-thirds of the lawyers recruited to become judges last year went to state schools, according to the latest figures from the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

The data was based on 28 selection exercises conducted in the year ending March 2018, for which 5,125 lawyers applied and 729 were recommended for appointment.

In the legal competitions, 63% of those recommended for immediate appointment were educated at a state school, compared to 35% who went to fee-paying schools, with 2% educated abroad. In addition, 59% were the first in their family to have attended university.

Overall, 40% of those recommended for immediate appointment were women, only 9% came from a black or ethnic minority background and 7% said that they had a disability.

Barristers still accounted for most applications and appointments – solicitors made up 36% of applicants and 21% of those recommended, while barristers represented 50% of applicants and 59% of those recommended.

When it came to appointments to the High Court, 52% had attended a state school and 47% had been educated privately, 27% were female and 5% were from an ethic minority background.

The JAC statistics suggest that the judiciary, which has traditionally been dominated by white men who attended private schools, may slowly be becoming more diverse, although more than 70% of senior judges are from private schools.