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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

February 24, 2010: Increasing Diversity In The Judiciary

The new report of the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity, which recommends a package of reforms to increase the diversity of the judiciary, has been welcomed by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

The new report recommends a fundamental shift in approach - one that addresses diversity systematically throughout a judicial career. It proposes the creation of a judicial diversity taskforce to oversee the delivery of reform and to be responsible for progress.

Reflecting the panel's view that sustained political, judicial and professional leadership is required to drive change, the taskforce will encompass the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, the Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Senior President of Tribunals and the Heads of the Bar Council, ILEX and the Law Society.

The panel, chaired by Baroness Julia Neuberger, was established  in April 2009 to identify the barriers to a more diverse and representative judiciary, and to put forward solutions. It made 53 recommendations, finding that:

  • the diversity of those entering the profession is significantly greater than that of those who have the experience to apply for judicial office. Therefore, delivering a more diverse judiciary is not just about recruiting talent wherever it may be found, but also about retaining talent and enabling capable individuals to reach the top.

  • the Judicial Appointments Commission should revise its criteria for assessing merit, to support and underline with greater clarity its commitment to diversity.

  • Selection processes should be open and transparent, promote diversity and recognise potential, not just at the entry points to the judiciary but for progression within it to the most senior levels.

  • appraisal, owned and run by the judiciary, should be consistently implemented throughout the judiciary. This was particularly requested by women and black, Asian and minority ethnic judges.

  • the Judicial Studies Board should evolve into a Judicial College offering courses in ‘Developing Judicial Skills'.

  • the legal profession, including law firms, should actively promote judicial office amongst those who are currently not coming forward, and, together with the judiciary, support and encourage talented candidates from under-represented groups to apply.

  • a proactive campaign of mythbusting should be undertaken as many of the perceived barriers to diversity are not reflected in practice.

  • there should be no quotas or targets for recruiting under-represented groups. But improvements must be made to the way data is captured and shared, so that there can be systematic evaluation of what works and progress can be monitored against agreed benchmarks.

Jack Straw commented:

'I am determined that race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability should be no barrier to those with ability joining the judiciary and progressing within it. Becoming a judge must be, and must be seen to be, open to everyone with the right skills and qualities.

'I would like to thank Baroness Neuberger and the panel for their hard work in identifying how we can progress towards a judiciary which is more representative of the communities it serves. I warmly welcome their findings and their recommendations.

'Most of these recommendations will require cooperative working between the Government, the judiciary, the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Heads of the Bar Council, the Law Society and the Institute of Legal Executives. I will start working with them immediately to implement the panel's findings.'

Panel Chair Baroness Neuberger said:

'We are clear that whilst there can be no quick fix, the implementation of these recommendations as a package will deliver real change. We are grateful to all those who gave their time to support the panel's work and assisted us in taking forward our aims, particularly those from the major law firms who are leading a real cultural change in their approach to supporting solicitors considering a judicial career.

'We took an end to end approach to judicial diversity and I look to all involved in the process to work together to deliver our recommendations. The panel and I will be monitoring progress over the coming year and will meet again to assess the improvements made.'