Women continue to perform strongly in selections for judicial office, according to the latest official statistics released by the Judicial Appointments Commission today.
The 10th set of official statistics covers 18 selection exercises completed between October 2013 and March 2014 – 16 for posts requiring legal qualifications and two for non-legal posts – together with a wider trends analysis. A total of 263 candidates were recommended for appointment (220 for legal and 43 for non-legal posts),
Christopher Stephens, Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, said: “The latest statistics show further success for women, with three being successful in the High Court selection, 26 being added to the Circuit bench and 29 to the District bench. There are now 21 women in the High Court, which is the highest number ever. Together, these women are changing the face of the judiciary, particularly in mid-range salaried court and tribunal posts. In some cases they are outperforming men, being recommended for appointment at levels greater than their application rate. It is our hope that this will lead to more women reaching the most senior levels of the judiciary.
“There remains a challenge, however, to understand why BAME applicants are not more successful. We are working on this with our partners. We are pursuing a “candidate attraction” project so we can more effectively attract high quality candidates from under-represented groups. We are also building a new online application service that will include a tool to help candidates assess their suitability and readiness for judicial roles.”
- Women made up just under half of those recommended for appointment both overall (124 – 47%) and for legal posts (106 – 48%).
- 26 women were among 54 recommendations to be Circuit Judges (48% as against 31% of applicants); 29 women were among 54 recommendations for District Judge (Civil) (54% as against 44% of applications); and 14 of 23 recommendations in the only large Salaried Tribunal Judge exercise were women (61% as against 47% of applicants).
- BAME candidates made up 11% of all recommendations (29 candidates) and 7% of legal recommendations (15 candidates).
- Five BAME candidates were recommended for Circuit Judge posts (9%) and four for District Judge (Civil) (7%).
- In some exercises BAME candidates were recommended at rates below their rate of application, including the large Salaried Tribunal Judge post where no candidates were recommended despite BAME making up 19% of applicants. About a third of BAME applicants in this selection did not have the judicial experience required by the Lord Chancellor.
- Solicitors comprised 34% of those recommended in the legal exercises, which is less than in the previous statistics. However, they made up at least half the successful candidates in five large exercises.
- Candidates with declared disabilities were successful in five legal exercises.
The most recent official statistics also include, for the first time, figures for religious belief and sexual orientation.
Christopher Stephens said: “These new categories broaden our picture of the diversity of those seeking judicial office. They provide a six-month snapshot of those who chose to self-declare, which helps us establish a baseline for future comparison. We also hope that others will begin to collect and publish similar data; this would allow a better comparison to show emerging trends.”
- Across the 18 exercises, of those recommended 27% identified themselves as belonging to the Church of England (71 people), Roman Catholic (14% – 38), Other Christian (10% – 26), Judaism (4% – 10), Hindu (2% – six), Muslim (2% – six), Other (2% – four) and No Religion (24% – 62). The balance of 15% (40 people) either declined to answer or their answers were incomplete.
- Of the 263 recommendations, 89% (235) identified themselves as Heterosexual and 2% as Gay male, lesbian or bisexual (six), with 8% (22) declining to answer or giving incomplete answers.
The official statistics bulletin (available here) includes an executive summary that provides long-term trends analysis regarding women, BAME, solicitors and those with declared disabilities which helps to set the results for October 2013-March 2014 in a wider context.
For further information, contact David Venables on 0203 334 5362.
- The diversity data for the official statistics is available on our website. It includes aggregated data on a group of eight small exercises where the number of applicants and recommendations for appointment are too small to be shown separately, while maintaining candidate confidentiality. The roles in the aggregated data are very varied. They comprise seven legal and one non-legal exercises.
- The official statistics data is split by gender, ethnicity, professional background, disability, age, sexual orientation and religious belief.
- Under section 36 of the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013 (previously section 94 of the Constitution Reform Act), the JAC can create a pool of recommended candidates who can be called on to fill a judicial role if a vacancy arises in future.
This post will expire at 4:09pm on Thursday September 25th, 2014