The Bar is quite properly concerned about diversity amongst its ranks. However attention yesterday was paid to diversity amongst those who sit a little higher up than counsel in court.

The 10th set of Judicial Appointments Commission Statistics on this subjecty were published on 5 June 2014. They show change is slowly occurring as more women than ever have been appointed to judicial office in the eighteen selection exercises completed between October 2013 and March 2014, during which no less than 263 candidates were recommended for appointment to judicial office. In their press release however (see http://jac.judiciary.gov.uk/about-jac/2857.htm) concern continues as to the lack of success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates.

Interesting snapshot statistics are cited as follows:

  • Women Applicants:
    • Women made up just under half of those recommended for appointment both overall (124 - 47%) and for legal posts (106 - 48%).
    • 26 women were among 54 recommendations to be Circuit Judges (48% as against 31% of applicants); 29 women were among 54 recommendations for District Judge (Civil) (54% as against 44% of applications); and 14 of 23 recommendations in the only large Salaried Tribunal Judge exercise were women (61% as against 47% of applicants).
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Applicants:
    • BAME candidates made up 11% of all recommendations (29 candidates) and 7% of legal recommendations (15 candidates).
    • Five BAME candidates were recommended for Circuit Judge posts (9%) and four for District Judge (Civil) (7%).
    • In some exercises BAME candidates were recommended at rates below their rate of application, including the large Salaried Tribunal Judge post where no candidates were recommended despite BAME making up 19% of applicants. About a third of BAME applicants in this selection did not have the judicial experience required by the Lord Chancellor.
    • Solicitors comprised 34% of those recommended in the legal exercises, which is less than in the previous statistics. However, they made up at least half the successful candidates in five large exercises.
    • Candidates with declared disabilities were successful in five legal exercises.
  • Applicants’ religious belief and sexual orientation:
    • Across the 18 exercises, of those recommended 27% identified themselves as belonging to the Church of England (71 people), Catholic (14% - 38), Other Christian (10% - 26), Judaism (4% - 10), Hindu (2% - six), Muslim (2% - six), Other (2% - four) and No Religion (24% - 62). The balance of 15% (40 people) either declined to answer or their answers were incomplete.
    • Of the 263 recommendations, 89% (235) identified themselves as Heterosexual and 2% as Gay male, lesbian or bisexual (six), with 8% (22) declining to answer or giving incomplete answers.