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Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

In April 2009 I established an independent advisory panel on judicial diversity. I asked the panel to identify the barriers to progress on judicial diversity, and to make recommendations on how to make speedier and sustained progress to a more diverse judiciary. I invited Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE to chair the panel and Lord Justice Goldring, Professor Dame Hazel Germ, Andrew Holroyd CBE, Winston Hunter QC and Dr. Nicola Brewer CMG to serve as members of the panel.

The advisory panel were originally to have presented their final report to me by November 2009. However, at the panel’s request, I agreed to a deferral of the publication date to enable the panel to continue engaging with a wide range of contributors and developing their findings. Overall, the panel met, corresponded with, or received evidence from, over 180 individuals and organisations—including members of the judiciary, the Judicial Appointments Commission, members and representatives of the legal professions, and diversity and equality experts—during the course of their investigation.

The advisory panel has now completed its work and produced its final report. Copies of the “Report of Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity 2010” have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I welcome warmly the findings of the panel’s report and its recommendations. Some of these will be for individual organisations to deliver. The majority though will require co-operative working between the Government, the judiciary, the Judicial Appointments Commission and the legal professions. Accordingly, I have written today to invite them to join a new judicial diversity taskforce, which will be responsible for driving forward the comprehensive programme of reform identified by the panel.

I am very grateful to Baroness Neuberger and the members of her advisory panel for the work they have done in producing this report, and the thorough approach that they have taken to identifying and analysing the issues involved.

We know that improving the diversity of the judiciary is a long-term challenge. I hope that this excellent report will spur all those across the system to respond to this challenge with renewed vigour.