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Are the UK Courts and Judiciary reflective of diversity in the UK?


As it currently stands, of the 12 Justices in the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, the president of the Supreme Court and Lady Black are the only two female Justices.

 

Last month Lady Hale commented on this saying women were still “seriously underrepresented” among senior judges and called for the Court and Judiciary to reflect the full diversity of the UK population.

 

At a recent debate she attended at LSE University, Lady Hale spoke about her experiences of studying Law at University and there being only 6 women in a class of more than 100.  By comparison, more women are now studying law and starting in the profession as opposed to men. However, despite this, women are still unrepresented in the Judiciary. She believes affirmative action is the way to remedy this as opposed to positive discrimination suggesting encouraging women from less considered areas, such as government legal services, to apply as one way to do this.

 

Lady Hale discussed the importance of diversity in social, economic and professional background stating “the legal professional and the courts are there to serve the whole population, not just a small section of it. They should be as reflective of that population as it is possible to be.” Whilst she feels those with the best skills should be appointed, she feels women with such skills are not applying for key roles because they do not want the assumption to be that they were successful in obtaining a position purely because they are a woman.  As someone whose own career path was unorthodox, she believes affirmative action would serve to attract those that are the best skilled from “the many places where there is merit”.


 

Bina Mistry is a Paralegal at JPC Law.

 

 

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