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EIGHTY-TWO per cent of judges appointed to the High Court during the past two years were Oxbridge graduates and all attended private fee-paying schools, according to newly-released Labour Party research.
Published by Stephen Byers, chair of the party's Home Affairs Committee, the study says that of the 26 appointments made during 1993 and 1994, only three were women. The average age of the appointees was 53, and the oldest was Judge Michael Sachs, who was more than 60 years old.
"These findings confirm that our senior judges continue to come from a narrow social and educational background.
"Given their limited experience of the world, it is hardly surprising that all too often our judges appear out of touch with everyday life," says Byers
But a spokeswoman for the Lord Chancellor's Department says judges are appointed in their late 40s, at the earliest, and their educational backgrounds reflect the system in operation 20 or 30 years ago.
"The educational background of judges is now changing, but that is going to take time," says the spokeswoman.
"But, we shouldn't forget that judges are appointed on merit."