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Already low percentage of ethnic minority judges FALLS as female numbers flatline

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But there are some encouraging signs in the lower ranks

laughingwhitemen

There has been little progress made on judicial diversity this year — particularly in the higher courts — with the percentage of black minority ethnic (BME) judges taking a dip, and the percentage of female judges flatlining.

The newest round of judicial diversity stats shows the percentage of judges who identify as BME has dropped from 6% to 5% in a year. Though this figure jumps up to 8% when one looks at judges under 50 in isolation, even these higher figures fail to come close to the 14% national average for BME people in the general population.

It can be difficult to trace diversity trends over a one-year basis, because there’s not a huge amount of movement in terms of promotions. However, a quick scan of the figures from 2011 to 2016 reveals a consistent lack of improvement on the ethnic diversity front.

bmegraph2

This is causing alarm, as evidenced by the Lord Chief Justice Thomas’ response to these stats. He commented:

[W]e are disappointed that there has been no improvement in either courts or tribunals in the total percentage of judges from a [BME] background. This is an area of concern and one where the Committee will be considering what more needs to be done.

On the subject of gender diversity, the number of female Court of Appeal judges has stayed the same (21%), while the percentage of female High Court judges has experienced a slight nudge upwards from 20% to 21% since last year.

The profession is very vocal in its outward commitment to judicial diversity, but these figures are definitely nothing to shout about. However, it’d be wrong to overlook the encouraging progress made at the lower ranks of the profession.

Though there’s been little movement in the Court of Appeal and High Court, the research has revealed that — overall — the percentage of female court judges has increased from 25% to 28% (an increase of 3%).

A look at the breakdown of gender diversity stats by age band also goes some way to exemplifying the judiciary’s fresh commitment to gender equality. Of the 85 court judges under 40-years-old, more than half (51%) are women. That said, this figure was 53% last year.

In view of the broadly disappointing nature of the figures, the judiciary is set to come under pressure to do something. Maybe sole female Supreme Court justice Lady Hale’s call for the introduction of judicial diversity targets will finally be acted on.

18 Comments

Anonymous

Yawn

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Anonymous

f u ck uself

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Anonymous

If BME practitioners and judges don’t apply for positions, it is no wonder they don’t get appointed.

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Anonymous

..I don’t think that’s the point. The point is that there’s less of them out there to apply, due to obvious reasons.

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Anonymous

Obvious reasons?

Hexplain yu’self wha’ yu mean..!

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Anonymous

Don’t be so narrow minded and ignorant

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Anonymous

As someone who has had the misfortune to represent clients before female judges, let me just say how happy I am too see this 😄

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Anonymous

Obvious troll is obvious.

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ALawyer

So 5% BME judges overall, compared with 14% of BME in the population at large. What would be interesting to know however, is how many BME people are there in similar extremely competitive and elitist positions for example investment bankers and surgeons? If the numbers of BME as judges is lower compared with the general population because it is hard to get into such a position and very few people can do it then that is not a problem. If however it is because of racism then obviously it is. It is interesting to note that as of 2015 there were 3238 judges in England and Wales, of which 159 are BME so white judges was 3079 white judges in England and Wales as against approximately 55 million people who were white in the population at large so white judges represented 0.0056 of the white population as a whole. Thus simply doing a comparison between the percentage of one group of ethnicity in the population as a whole and the number of judges from that ethnicity is not all that helpful necessarily.

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Anonymous

this isn’t just white people, it’s legal cheek comment section failed lawyer white people

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Anonymous

What? Try forming a coherent sentence.

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Anonymous

looool are you really clever? You sound it. You should write a novel

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The Great Flunge

Dass raysis!!!!

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Anonymous

These figures could equally show that the role is of less interest to BME lawyers perhaps? Im an Asian female solicitor and I don’t know a single one of my colleagues of the same background that would be interested in being a judge. And if those who are interested are not suitably qualified, experienced, or able should people really be appointed to the judiciary just to fulfil a diversity quota?!

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Anonymous

How many judges are Irish travellers vs the percentage of society? To default to an assumption of racism when there is no actual evidence of racism is absurd.

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Lord Lyle of Dislyxia

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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Anonymous

Meanwhile in other news, the majority of judges under 40 are female…

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philip green's yacht

Very bad that so few women and BAME are represented – medieval courts system

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