Posts Tagged ‘women judges’

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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Erika Rackley, Durham Law SchoolThis article originally appeared on the Guardian Law pages on 31 May 2012.

Apparently, we now have an answer to why our judiciary remains one of the least diverse in the world: our women and ethnic minority lawyers just aren’t good enough. During the second reading of the crime and courts bill earlier this week, Lady Butler-Sloss began well. She gave “strong support” for greater diversity among those appointed to the judiciary – so long as, of course, that such appointments are made “on merit”. Few would disagree with that.

However, in attempting to underline this point, things went downhill. Butler-Sloss continued: “It will be very important that women – particularly those from ethnic minorities – who may not be able to bear the strain of the judicial process are not placed in a position where they may find themselves failing because there has been too much enthusiasm for diversity and not enough for merit. This is very important. I have a vivid recollection of a woman judge many years ago who was a very fine pianist. She should have remained a pianist”.

To be fair, her qualification that there was “perhaps” too much enthusiasm for diversity in contrast to merit failed to make it into the Hansard transcript – but there again neither did her colleagues’ gentle titter which followed her remark.

So are ethnic-minority women judges just not up to the job? (more…)

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