How diverse are judges in England and Wales?

22 April 2014

Labour hit out today at what it calls the 'snail's pace' of movement towards greater diversity among judges.

"Currently, the UK is ranked fourth from bottom in Europe on gender balance of judges, while 83 per cent of High Court judges are male, and 95 per cent of them are white."

We've looked at this topic before, and Labour is wrong to refer to the UK here. Its figures are for England and Wales.

The European figures are now quite old, referring to 2010. They show England and Wales ranked 4th from bottom on gender balance: 23% of professional judges were female that year.

The next figures, for 2012, are out in September this year, so we'll soon know if the position has changed since then.

We already know more about England and Wales in isolation, as Labour's figures indicate. On 1 April 2013, one in four (24%) judges was female. One in 20 (5%)  judges is Black and Minority Ethnic (BME). At the High Court, one in six (17%) judges is female and again 5% are BME.

As for moving at a 'snail's pace', readers can decide for themselves using the historical figures (and, for background, the population of England and Wales by gender and ethnicity).

diverse judges

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