Injustice in the Judiciary
125 years. This is how long it will take before black judges will be represented accurately alongside the general population throughout England and Wales. According to analysis conducted by the Law Society, Black judges make up just 1.09% of the institution, compared to 3.5% of the general public. This is an increase of only 0.07% from 2014. And, as things currently stand, there are no Black judges sitting in the Court of Appeal, and there has never been a Supreme Court judge of colour.
The analysis also found Asian judges will achieve representation parallel to that of the general public in 2033, currently making up 4.79% of the judiciary in comparison to the 8% representation of public. Whilst these groups were overrepresented in the applications for appointment to the judiciary, they had lower rates of recommendation compared to white candidates.
Injustices amongst female judges were also highlighted by the Law Society. Whilst women make up a third of the judiciary (seeing a 10% increase in the last eight years) it has been identified that it will take another 10 years for female judges to make up half of the judiciary. Looking to the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale became the first Supreme Court justice in 2009 (and later President) before mandatory retirement came in 2020. Though replaced by another woman, there has only ever been one female judge making up the nine-strong judiciary.
So, what happens next? The government introduced the Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2020/25 in November of 2020, setting out objectives for the judiciary to reach over the next 5 years. There are four core objectives: building a more inclusive working environment within the judiciary; supporting existing judges’ careers and achieving greater diversity in the pool of judiciary applicants. Arguably, it’s most important mandate is increased responsibility for reporting on progress with diversity and inclusion. This scheme is currently only two years deep, and with three more years to go, we can expect to see more statistics and investigations. So set your alarms for 2025 for a review of this strategy and its effectiveness... oh and the UK’s general election!