Judiciary will be fully representative in 120 years

New research by the Law Society of England and Wales has today found it will take more than 120 years before women, Black and Asian people are properly represented within the judiciary if things continue the way they are.

Law Society President Lubna Shuja said: “As we near the end of Black History Month, which this year focuses on ‘action, not words,’ it is unacceptable that Law Society research has found it could take over 120 years for women, Black and Asian people to represent the society they serve on the bench.

“Black judges currently make up just 1.09% of the judiciary, compared to 1.02% in 2014. At that rate, it would take until 2149 for the proportion of the judiciary who are Black to match current estimates for the general population (3.5%).”

It is not only Black candidates who are being held back by the glacial progress of diversity on the bench, but Asian and women judges too.

Asian judges currently make up 4.79% of the judiciary. This is up 2.53% compared to 2014.

If this rate continues, it is estimated it would be 2033 before the percentage of Asian judges would match the general population (8%).

Women make up around a third of judges. Current trends predict it will be another decade before half of the judiciary are women.

Lubna Shuja concluded: “We need a judiciary that truly reflects our diverse society. We must take action and make real, lasting change so our judges can represent the people who come before them in court.

“We urge the UK government to address the structural barriers that are holding back talented candidates.

“We know that progress does not happen overnight, however, we cannot wait over 120 years for women, Asian and Black judges to be fully representative on our court benches.

“We owe it to the public – who often use the judicial system at times of great stress – to at least have judges who represent and can relate to them.”

Notes to editors

Read the Law Society’s research in full here

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