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Judicial diversity statistics show positive but slow progress

29 July 2016

Judicial diversity figures for 2016 released are a case of 'some progress but must try harder', said the Law Society of England and Wales.

'It is vital that everyone in the legal sector, whatever their background, circumstances or profession, has a "line of sight" to judicial career opportunities,' said a spokesperson for the Law Society.

'This means being able to see a path towards a goal that is realistic and achievable, so anyone who has the desire and ability to be a judge can identify how they can work towards that ambition with confidence that it can be reached - regardless of gender, sexual orientation, class or ethnicity.'

The Law Society welcomed small but positive changes on a range of key areas, such as in the number of women serving as circuit judges, and judges under 40 years of age from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

'However, with the percentage of female judges still in their 20s, and of BAME judges in single digits, it's a case of "some progress but must try harder",' said the spokesperson.

'Equally, while solicitors are well represented as tribunal judges, the senior ranks of the judiciary remains a relatively closed shop. The fall in court judges from the solicitor profession - down two percentage points since last year - is unwelcome, and underscores there is much more to do.'

The Law Society runs a range of initiatives to promote both diversity in the profession and judicial opportunities for solicitors.

'We have a range of networks and communities aimed at supporting ethnic minority, women, lawyers with disabilities and LGBT solicitors, as well as those seeking to join the judiciary. We provide them with training, events and opportunities to help them realise their career goals,' said a spokesperson.

'We remain committed to working with the Judicial Diversity Committee, to build upon this progress, and move towards a judiciary that reflects the society they serve.'

Ends

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact

Oliver Searle | oliver.searle@lawsociety.org.uk | +44 (0) 7966 931 229