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Judicial Diversity Taskforce (Annual Report)

Volume 597: debated on Thursday 25 June 2015

The judicial diversity taskforce has today published its fourth annual report, which details the progress the group has made in addressing the 53 recommendations of the advisory panel on judicial diversity. The taskforce comprises of senior members of the judiciary, the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Ministry of Justice.

Our judges are rightly held in high regard around the world, and it is important that they reflect today’s diverse society, which is why we are pleased such significant progress was made by members of the taskforce over 2014. In large part this was driven by our collaborative approach to improving diversity and engaging in new ways of working across the legal and judicial professions.

Some of the achievements of the taskforce include:

Successful implementation of the equal merit provision; which allows for a candidate to be recommended for appointment for the purpose of improving diversity within the judiciary in instances when two or more candidates are of equal merit.

Extending the opportunity for salaried office holders to sit part time in the High Court and above.

Identification of ways to improve the selection and recommendation process for judicial appointments through an external review.

Improvements in statistical reporting, and in data collection and management, to better monitor and evaluate progress on judicial diversity.

Arranging a series of workshops and training programmes aimed at encouraging under- represented groups to enter the judiciary.

Increasing the amount of Diversity and Community Relation Judges, who play a key role in outreach events and act as figureheads for diversity and community engagement.

The judicial diversity taskforce held its last meeting in November 2014 and this will be its final annual report.

The oversight function of the taskforce will now be the responsibility of the Judicial Diversity Forum, which brings together most of the parties who were in the taskforce. The forum will continue to review progress against the outstanding and ongoing recommendations listed at the end of the report, and will work to identify new opportunities for action. This will ensure that the goal of improving judicial diversity continues to be embedded in the working practices of the judiciary, legal professions and Government.

Copies of the taskforce’s report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The report is also available online at: