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Half of judges will be women by 2033, Lady Hale predicts

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‘We’ve done the sums’

Gender parity amongst judges in England and Wales should be achieved by 2033, the president of the Supreme Court predicted over the weekend — but the future of the higher courts “doesn’t look so rosy”.

Speaking at the Bar Council’s annual conference in London on Saturday, Lady Hale dismissed suggestions it would take 50 years for gender equality on the bench to be realised. Hale, who steps down from her presidential post in January, told the audience that “we’ve done the sums” and, according to the current rate of change, it will only be “14 years to get to parity”.

One such 50-year prediction was made by Hale’s former bench buddy Lord Sumption. Speaking in an interview in 2015, the outspoken former judge also claimed that a rush to gender equality “could have appalling consequences for justice” and that it was “rubbish” to say that the law was run by an “old boys’ network”.

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But Hale did acknowledge that female representation across the higher courts was less “rosy”. “It’s obvious that we still have a long way to go with women in the law both in the profession and the judiciary”, she said.

Recent figures show that 32% of judges in the courts and 46% of tribunal judges were women — a rise of six and three percentage points respectively over the past four years. Meanwhile, women accounted for 23% of judges in the Court of Appeal and 27% in the High Court.

Away from the judiciary, the 74-year-old Baroness said there has been slow progress in women taking silk. “The reason women are not taking silk [becoming a QC] is that they are not applying”, Hale told the audience. “They are reluctant — or a more worrying reason is that they are not getting the kind of work that will qualify them to apply.”

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22 Comments

Family lawyer

In family law you actually need more sensible male judges.

at the moment its a mixture of female judges who just wave through the status quo, and kindly old male judges who go all ‘white knight’ at the sight of a sobbing damsel in distress.

(16)(7)

John

The trouble is that family law will not attract the intellectual heavyweights like Lord Sumption, but more judges of the Calibre of Hale

(13)(15)

Anonymous

Sumption is a good example of why someone who is intelligent doesn’t necessarily make a good judge. He was a good commercial barrister but as a judge Hale knocks spots off him, even although she’s come out with some strange stuff recently.

(4)(2)

Legal Genius

Who cares? Just promote those who do their job well, regardless of race or gender. Idiots.

(19)(4)

Woke progressive

Promote those who do well regardless of race or gender? This is 2019! At least you’re not even trying to hide your rampant misogyny and racism.

(8)(10)

KAB

I understand the need to remove barriers which are preventing women applying to the judiciary but are you honestly suggesting it’s “misogynistic” to argue that recruitment should be based on merit ?

(1)(0)

John

And what if that leads to 90% men?

(0)(6)

Outraged

That’s obviously not fair. Seriously, how can you hold such views in 2019??!

(3)(3)

Anon

Why not? Why are quotas more important than ability?

(1)(1)

Awkward

Will the Supreme Court have any ethnic minority judges too by that time?

You know, like there are within the rest of the population in the UK?

(9)(3)

Anonymous

Lord Neuberger is most certainly ethnic minority. (The *wrong* kind of ethnic minority, I suppose!)

(3)(3)

Bob

Corbyn will send him off to a special camp

(4)(2)

Law Grad

Hello legalcheek, completely off topic but am I likely to bag a decent training contract with a low 2.1 in law? It’s from a good RG uni and I have decent extra curric and work experience + mitigating circumstances (although I don’t know how sympathetic grad recruitment are to mitigating circumstances). I welcome honest answers so feel free to roast me

(5)(1)

Hale her for she is mighty

Are you a woman? If so consider applying to be a QC directly.

(10)(2)

Anon

Why would you need mitigating circumstances? A 2:1 is a 2:1. You’ve met the requirement, chances are you won’t need to explain why it’s ‘low’

(3)(2)

Law Grad

I’d have thought that TCs are so competitive, a low (very low) 2.1 would be a bit of a handicap for me

(0)(0)

Anon

The OP should consider gender reassignment or at least start identifying as something other than your birth gender. That way, your bonus points on the application would offset the academics.

(0)(2)

Anon

Unless you want a TC somewhere in the City, then no, a 2:1 is a 2:1 and you’ll be fine. The tone of this discussion would be entirely different if you were aiming to become a barrister.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Did she mention that there are far more female than male magistrates?

(0)(1)

Bob

Which half?

(0)(1)

Reading Regular

At Reading Crown Court two thirds of the Judges are women.

We’re leading the way!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Doesn’t sound very diverse!

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.