As Chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council, I recommend to you the Committee’s progress report for the last 12 months and a diversity action plan, which is being published for the first time ever. 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.
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 work shadowing, mentoring, community outreach, networking events and pre-application workshops.
We recognise that we have more to do. For the period April 2015-March 2016, the judiciary saw some progress on the gender diversity front, but it still has some way to go in increasing both its ethnic diversity and the representation of solicitors in the courts and tribunals.
In the next 12 months, we will –
- continue our dialogue with BAME lawyers better to 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 more networking among the existing courts and tribunals judiciary;
- run more workshops 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