Posts Tagged ‘judiciary’

Elena KapardisElena Kapardis is a PhD candidate at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham. She has a great interest in the judiciary, judicial diversity and judicial performance.

With progress towards improved judicial diversity moving at snail’s pace, ‘the time has now come for quotas’ according to a Report, Judicial Diversity: Accelerating Change, commissioned by the shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan, published last week. This is not a surprise. Back in April 2014 when announcing the appointment of the Report’s authors, Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC and Karon Monaghan QC, the press reported that “Nothing is off the table”:

A Labour government would be prepared to introduce the “nuclear option” of quotas for female and black and ethnic minority judges to avoid a 100-year wait to achieve a judiciary reflecting the composition of the population. “

More recently, Lord Neuberger has stated that the absence of judicial diversity, especially in senior posts, is a major concern for the judiciary. Emphasizing that we must not assume that the problem will resolve itself, he continued

“I am not one of those people who optimistically thinks that if we just sit back it will all sort itself out and the judiciary will eventually include many more women and ethnic minorities”.


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Kate Malleson (guest blogger) is Professor of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and on the Executive Committee of the Equal Justices Initiative.

In December the Supreme Court announced that every Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will in future be styled as ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’, to ensure that all Justices are described and addressed in a similar manner.

When the Supreme Court opened in October 2009 the first Supreme Court Justices had all previously sat in the House of Lords as Law Lords and although they lost the right to sit in Parliament when they moved to the newly created Supreme Court, they remained Peers and so kept their titles. The appointment of Sir John Dyson from the Court of Appeal last year as the first Justice who had not been a Law Lord, inevitably led to some confusion over how the Justices should be described and addressed. Hence the decision to give all new Justices the ‘courtesy title’ of Lord or Lady. The President of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips has described the change as ‘a welcome move to help us introduce consistency and avoid the complications of a variety of titles being employed.’

But while the decision might ensure clarity, it is also a retrograde step for the Court to revert back to using titles with aristocratic associations at odds with the more modern and forward-looking image which the Supreme Court has worked hard to present. (more…)

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