Responding to the publication of the official Diversity of the Judiciary 2023 statistics, Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:
“We agree with the Lord Chief Justice that public confidence in and the legitimacy of the judiciary are sustained by a judiciary that reflects the broad composition of the society it serves. And that it is essential that those from diverse backgrounds feel welcome and supported once they join the judiciary.
“The latest diversity statistics show that progress is being made, but it is not being made equally across the board. For example, Black candidates are disproportionately less likely to succeed than White candidates. We need to continue efforts to understand why we are seeing this pattern.
“The disparity between Black candidates and all ethnic minority candidates also demonstrates the importance of granularity in data. As we stated in our Race at the Bar report, barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds should not be treated together as a single group, as that does not provide a complete picture.
“It is incumbent on all to play their part in ensuring a fair selection process for judges and in creating a supportive environment for those who join the judiciary. The professions must also continue to support the recruitment, retention and progression of all barristers, whatever their background, gender, sex, or race.”
The Bar Council has a programme of work aimed at increasing diversity and ensuring people from diverse backgrounds can secure the quality of work they need for career progression. For more information see: https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/support-for-barristers/equality-diversity-and-inclusion.html
Notes to editors
- The Official Statistics, Diversity of the judiciary: 2023 statistics are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/diversity-of-the-judiciary-2023-statistics
- The Bar Council is a member of the Judicial Diversity Forum which brings together leaders from organisation across the legal sector to identify and implement ways of improving judicial diversity. More information: https://judicialappointments.gov.uk/equality-and-diversity/diversity-and-equality-measures/judicial-diversity-forum/
- The Bar Council represents more than 17,000 practising barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:
- the Bar’s high-quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
- fair access to justice for all
- the highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
- the development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.
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