Forty-five per cent of candidates recommended for appointment as judges in the year to March were women, it has been announced.
In addition, more than a third (36 per cent) of all shortlisted candidates (the stage before recommendation) were women.
The figures were highlighted in a new bulletin from the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). The category of judge with the most initial female applicants were district judge – 49 per cent of all applications for such roles were women. By the recommendation stage, the proportion of women had increased still further, to no less than 60 per cent.
The category of judge with the lowest number of female applicants, by contrast, was circuit judge: just 14 per cent of the applicants for such roles were female. But the proportion of female candidates for such roles had also increased by the recommendation stage: to 25 per cent.
Nationally, 25.2 per cent of all appointed judges were women in April last year.
Meanwhile, the proportion of judicial candidates from black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups remains low: 16 per cent all candidates, 10 per cent of shortlisted candidates and nine per cent of recommended candidates.
Bar Council Head of Equality Sam Mercer said:
“At every stage of the process, BAME applicants did less well than their white colleagues. This inequality is unacceptable. We urgently need to work in partnership with organisations across the legal sector, and with government, to find out why this distortion is occurring and take immediate measures for correction.”
Read the JAC bulletin here.
As the name suggests, the Judicial Appointments Commission is a government body responsible for the selection of judges.