It is widely acknowledged that the judiciary within England and Wales is not representative of the wider society. The composition of the judiciary is regularly subject to criticism on its apparent homogenous identity’ being largely comprised of elderly, white male barristers educated at Oxford or Cambridge. This ethos has prevented diversity within the judiciary, particularly the upper echelons of the judiciary. Academics such as John Griffith have suggested that the narrow range of the judiciary threatens to undermine public confidence in the judicial system. Similarly, Baroness Hale argues that a representative judiciary is paramount for directives associated with the promotion of equal opportunities and strengthening of judicial legitimacy. The government has attempted to combat these issues with statutory and procedural changes to the Courts and Legal Service Act 1990, the Courts Act 2003, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and the Judicial Appointments Committee. However, the government’s reforms have made little impact on the demographic profile of the judiciary, as the cornerstone of all judicial appointments is merit. Until diversity can break into the judiciary, particularly the upper echelons of the judiciary there will continue to be a lingering threat to the publics confidence of the judiciary as diversification has yet to materialize.
Structural changes prior 2005
Prior to the 2005 reforms, the appointment of judges to England and Wales’s judiciary was fraught with secrecy and bias with a total disregard for transparency and accountability. The old ways of appointment have been described as an “old boys” network of informality creating a self-sustaining system. John Griffith argues this i...
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Dobbs, “Diversity in the Judiciary” Lecture, Queen Mary, University of London, 17 October 2007 9.
Hale B, ‘Equality and the Judiciary: Why Should We Want More Women Judges’ (2001) 489-504
Malleson K, ‘Rethinking the Merit Principle in Judicial Selection’ (2006) 33 Journal of Law and Society 126
Office J, ‘Diversity Statistics and General Overview’
Rackley E, ‘Judicial Diversity, the Woman Judge and Fairy Tale Endings’ (2007) 27 Legal Studies 74
Sueur AL, Sunkin M and Murkens J, Public Law: Text, Cases, and Materials 2e (Oxford University Press 2013)
Williams A, ‘Uk Government and Politics (1998). (Heinerman)
——Reported in House of Lords Hansard, 17 March 2011.
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