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Judicial Appointments

Volume 950: debated on Wednesday 24 May 1978

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asked the Attorney-General whether he is satisfied with the distribution of judicial appointments as between men and women, in the light of the requirements of the Sex Discrimination Act; and whether it is his policy to alter the present situation in which there are only two women High Court judges out of 72, seven women circuit judges out of 285, and eight women recorders out of 370.

The paramount principle followed by my noble Friend in selecting persons for judicial appointments is to choose the person best qualified for the particular appointment concerned, irrespective of sex, race or any other extraneous factor. The question of such appointments not satisfying the requirements of the Sex Discrimination Act does not, therefore, arise. My noble Friend does, however, take every available opportunity of selecting suitably qualified women, and would welcome an increase in the numbers both of those appointed to the bench and of those entering the legal profession from which judicial appointments are made.