Judicial diversity has been a continuous topic of discussion in both society and in the English legal system. Currently, the process of the merit system causes a lack of diversity in the English bench, which is highly due to the undiverse characters of the upper reaches of the legal profession. There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to promote diversity within the judiciary. The Constitution Reform Act 2005 (CRA 2005) was then introduced to ensure selection is based on merit and to promote judicial diversity. Lord Sumption views that the judiciary will remain very standardized in its makeup without any form of positive discrimination. This will create issues within the English legal system, as opportunities are not equal for candidates. Through the use of statutes, academic articles, and statistical analyses, this paper will address the merit system followed by an analysis of the lack of judicial diversity. Furthermore, it will address positive discrimination and possible reforms to overcome the current underrepresentation of diversity.
Merit System and Reasons for Lack of Diversity
The United Kingdom underwent substantial changes when the CRA 2005 created the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). The aim of this Act was to ensure selection solely on merit and to encourage judicial diversity. Enthusiasts of this Act expected more women and black and minority ethnicities (BME) to become judges in order to represent the multiculturalist society. Yet, despite the proceedings of the JAC, the English legal bench continues to lack diversity. The judges within the courts are predominantly white men from elite educational and social backgrounds who come from the upper reaches of society and the legal professio...
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...ce of the English legal system. It is important for the multiculturalist society to be represented in the bench and currently they are under-represented, which seems to be a recurring problem. Individuals, particularly those in the legal profession, should not have to meet merit-worthy requirements in order to become a judge. Ultimately, becoming more diverse and representative will not decrease the quality of the legal bench. On the contrary, females and BME should not be appointed for the purpose of increasing diversity, but candidates should be selected to ensure that the judiciary is both diverse and of quality. Therefore, with this in mind, even though it is unquestionable that more diversity is needed in the legal profession and the judiciary as a whole, it is reassuring to note that progress is being made even if it is happening at a slower rate than expected.
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