Judicial diversity: barriers still exist for Black, Asian and minority ethic candidates
Responding to the publication of four years of data on judicial recruitment, the vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lubna Shuja, said:
“Today’s report shows beyond doubt that applicants from under-represented backgrounds are much less likely to be to be successful in the judicial selection process.
“Despite a significant number of applications from different target groups – including solicitors and Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates – and considerable work to make the judiciary more diverse, it’s clear from these disappointing figures that very little has been achieved to date in driving diversity in judicial appointments.
“The findings of the Deep Dive clearly show barriers still exist for non-barristers and non-white candidates throughout the current selection process.
"We have worked with stakeholders to encourage diverse candidates to apply for judicial roles, and saw an increase in applications from solicitors and Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates. However, the diversity of the applicant pool has not translated into diverse appointments.
“We are deeply concerned to see the new data about the significantly lower success rates of diverse applicants in the JAC process. We call on the JAC to investigate urgently the reasons for this differential performance and remove any remaining barriers.
"We will continue to support our members to make strong judicial applications and pursue their judicial aspirations, but we want to see them have equal chances of being appointed.
"It is essential that our judiciary reflects the diversity of our society as well as the range of backgrounds and experiences of legal professionals who apply for judicial roles.
"We look forward to the JAC’s contribution to the forthcoming action plan setting out how it is going to make substantial progress towards this goal.”