The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has launched a new initiative to promote diversity in the High Court.
Its purpose is to mentor possible candidates from a wide range of backgrounds ahead of the Judicial Appointments Commission’s (JAC) first ever ‘selection exercise’ in July. This exercise will appoint 14 new Deputy High Court Judges.
The Judiciary’s new initiative is available to barristers, solicitors and legal academics with no previous experience as judges. It is specifically tailored for women, ethnic minorities and people from a less advantaged social background. This is because these are areas where “the judiciary is significantly less representative of society”.
Candidates for the initiative will get the opportunity to shadow a High Court judge for up to three days in order to gain a better understanding of the work such a position entails. They will also participate in a workshop on how to best present themselves in July’s selection exercise.
In a video about the pilot, Lady Justice Heather Hallett said that it “will not guarantee appointment by the [JAC] as a Deputy High Court judge”, but would hopefully “encourage candidates to apply and provide them with the tools they need to compete”.
According to official figures, out of 108 High Court judges, only 21 of them are women. In the Court of Appeal, there are eight female judges and 30 male judges. Figures also show that fewer than ten per cent of all judges are from an ethnic minority background.
To watch Lady Justice Hallett’s video about the diversity initiative, click here.
Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Scott Denny via Flickr