Report demands more diversity in the judiciary

The Commission for Judicial Appointments (CJA) has warned that there is still much work to be done before true diversity in the judiciary can be achieved.

The CJA released its fifth and final annual report this week. In it the commission praised work that has been done to improve the judicial appointments’ process, including the formation of the new Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

However there was criticism of the government’s failure to offer redress to judicial candidates who have had their complaints against the system upheld. The report reveals that the Department for Constitutional Affairs has rejected the CJA’s request for substantive redress where complaints have been upheld six times.

The CJA also says that, if necessary, recruitment professionals may need to be brought in to help in the recruitment of judicial candidates.

But the eight commissioners, led by Sir Colin Campbell, have laid the responsibility of improving the system on the shoulders of both the new JAC and senior judicial and political figures.

The report concludes by saying: “We believe the culture of the professions and the judiciary may prove to be hard to change; and it is culture, rather than process, which acts as the real brake on diversity. Achieving change will be as dependent on the continuing commitment of the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor to the publicly proclaimed ambition to achieve a more representative judiciary as on the leadership of the JAC.”