Rise in number of women applying to become judges

Efforts to broaden the profile of the Bench appear to be working, with more women and black and ethnic minority (“BME”) lawyers applying for judicial office.


New research, produced by the Judicial Appointments Commission (“JAC”) and the MoJ, compares current selections with those made prior to the establishment of the JAC, and includes analysis of the number of women and BME candidates over the last ten years.
Since the JAC was set up in 2006, more women and BME lawyers than before have applied for judicial roles and more women have been appointed. The number of successful BME candidates has remained constant.

Karl King, a member of the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee, said: “It is important that there is a widening of the take up across the range of judicial posts therefore we are pleased to see some increase in the number of candidates applying. Although the numbers in relation to BME appointments are static there must be some encouragement that in the future this will improve.”
Baroness Prashar, Chair of the JAC, said: “This analysis is a major breakthrough. For the first time we have the facts that show progress has been made and dispels the myth that progress of judicial diversity has been stemmed. More importantly it provides a clear and agreed benchmark to measure future trends.”

The JAC has also published the results of the latest round of applications for District Judge (Civil) posts. The number of applications has doubled on the previous round in 2007–08, with 505 candidates for 81 vacancies.

Applications from BME candidates have more than trebled, the number of applications from solicitors doubled, and both BME and solicitor candidates increased their share of the final tally.

Solicitors and barristers notched up similar success rates this time—in the last round 13 per cent more barristers were selected.

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