As Chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council, I should like to introduce to you the Committee’s progress report for the last 12 months and a diversity action plan. The plan will be implemented over the course of the next 12 months, with support from the Judicial Office.
The judiciary remains strongly committed to its aim of achieving greater diversity within its ranks. In the past 12 months, the Judicial Diversity Committee has continued to pursue a variety of initiatives and challenged itself to explore whether more might be done to accelerate progress. We are determined to continue to engage in as many activities as possible designed to improve the diversity in the judiciary.
For the period April 2016-March 2017
the judiciary saw some progress on the gender diversity front, but we must do more. We also still have some way to go in increasing both its ethnic diversity and the representation of solicitors in the courts and tribunals.
We will continue working collaboratively with the Judicial Appointments Commission to help candidates better prepare for the selection process and supporting judges to progress their judicial careers.
The Committee has been strongly supported by judges from all backgrounds across the courts and tribunals in England and Wales. These judges have played a key role in encouraging, guiding and building the confidence of under-represented groups through schools’ engagement programmes, work shadowing, mentoring, community outreach programmes, networking events and pre-application seminars and workshops.
In the next 12 months, the Committee plans to take proactive steps to reach a more diverse pool of lawyers and focus its efforts in key areas including education, attracting new talent and supporting career progression.
- continue our dialogue and engagement with BAME lawyers to better understand the barriers they face and identify what more the judiciary can do to support them;
- work with the Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx to ensure that we are doing all we can to reach the broadest range of talent;
- encourage a wide range of applicants from diverse personal and professional backgrounds and support them to apply for a judicial appointment;
- develop strategies to enable career development and progression of under-represented groups within the judiciary;
- continue to run workshops and regional seminars to support a greater number of candidates from under-represented groups to prepare for the selection process;
- further develop our communications to potential candidates and those who have an interest in judicial diversity; and
- improve the monitoring and evaluation of our initiatives.
Lady Justice Heather Hallett
Chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council