Lord Chancellor addresses ethnic minorities shortfall

The Lord Chancellor's Department is launching a research project to investigate why so few ethnic minority and women applicants become Queen's Counsel or judges.

This year, of 553 applications to become silk, only 27 came from ethnic minority lawyers and 45 from women. This represents only 13 per cent of all applications.

Lincoln Crawford, chair of the Bar's Race Relations Committee, welcomes the proposals and says the Lord Chancellor has already made great efforts to restore confidence in the system.

However, he said that the current consultation process continues to be flawed and calls for a more objective system to replace it.

Crawford says that despite the introduction of a more transparent system, which provides clear selection criteria, there remains a feeling that there is a, “whole network operating within the system that excludes them [black and visible minorities].”

The LCD also hopes to instigate research into the impact of the justice system on ethnic minorities although it is not yet known what the precise terms of reference will be.