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Judicial recruitment and lack of diversity puts justice at risk

2 November 2017

The Constitution Committee today warns that difficulties with recruitment threaten the UK's world renowned legal system and that more work to address judicial diversity is needed.

Judicial Appointments

The Committee has examined the progress made on judicial recruitment and diversity since its 2012 report on Judicial Appointments.


The Committee say that:

  • It is deeply concerned that the dispute between the Government and the judiciary on pensions changes has damaged the morale of the judiciary.
  • The working conditions of the judiciary are having a detrimental effect on retaining and recruiting judges. The dilapidated state of some courts, the administrative burdens on judges, under-resourcing of court staff and IT shortcomings all need to be addressed.
  • The fixed retirement age for judges should be reconsidered, particularly for the senior judiciary.
  • The judiciary must be free from abuse and personal criticism by the media and the Lord Chancellor has a constitutional duty to defend the independence of the judiciary. This does not impinge on the right of the press to criticise court judgments.


The Committee recommends that:

  • The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice should examine the obstacles faced by government lawyers in gaining the required experience for judicial office.
  • Chartered legal executives who demonstrate the requisite attributes should not be prevented from promotion to higher courts.
  • The Government and the legal profession should work with law firms to encourage solicitors to apply for judicial positions.
  • The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, the Judicial Appointments Commission and the legal professions must monitor progress and look for new ways to encourage diversity.

Further information

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