The Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has been published today (Thursday 5 November). It sets out the ambition, aim and objectives for the judiciary over the next five years.
The intention is that setting these objectives, and undertaking the actions contained within each one, will lead to a meaningful positive change to the representation of underrepresented groups within the judiciary.
The strategy has four core objectives:
- Creating an environment in which there is greater responsibility for and reporting on progress in achieving diversity and inclusion
- Supporting and building a more inclusive and respectful culture and working environment within the judiciary
- Supporting and developing the career potential of existing judges
- Supporting greater understanding of judicial roles and achieving greater diversity in the pool of applicants for judicial roles
Launching the strategy, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice, said: “The objectives that we set ourselves in this Strategy are testing and ambitious. They demonstrate our collective commitment to ensuring that the judiciary provides an environment in which talented individuals, whatever their personal or professional background, can thrive.”
Lady Justice Simler, Chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee, said: “I am more committed than ever to having a judiciary in which a stronger culture of inclusion and collaboration is fostered and maintained. Where the best legal professionals from a range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences are recruited at all levels, and are supported, encouraged and retained.”
The judiciary recognise that diversity, inclusion and equality are fundamental to the rule of law and to what judicial office holders do. Public confidence in and the legitimacy of the judiciary are sustained by a judiciary that reflects the broad composition of the society it serves.
All those who have the requisite skills and ability should have a fair opportunity to apply for and secure judicial appointment. If the judiciary does not draw from the widest pool, irrespective of background, it will inevitably miss out on talented individuals and will not appoint the best people.
The Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy sets the judiciary’s ambitions for achieving better diversity, inclusion and equality over the next five years. It applies to all court and tribunal judges, non-legal members of tribunals and magistrates.
The overarching aim is to increase the personal and professional diversity of the judiciary at all levels over the next five years by increasing the number of well qualified applicants for judicial appointment from diverse backgrounds and by supporting their inclusion, retention and progress in the judiciary. Delivery of the strategy will be underpinned by improved data and reporting, including publication of the Judicial Diversity Forum’s combined statistical report (link to report below). This will be used to inform and improve policies, procedures and practices in the judiciary, and to drive strategies directed at improving the personal and professional diversity of the judiciary and supporting a more inclusive culture.