The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has launched a consultation paper in a bid to improve the diversity of the judiciary.
Formal career breaks, more flexible sitting arrangements and a drive to urge women, minority ethnic and disabled lawyers to apply to become judges are among measures being considered by the Government to increase diversity in the profession.
At present, only 15.8 per cent of court judges are women, and just 3.4 per cent come from minority ethnic groups.
Lord Falconer, secretary of state for constitutional affairs, said judicial appointments would continue to be made on merit and said there was no conflict between merit and diversity.
“It is a matter of great concern that the judiciary in England and Wales – while held in high regard for its ability, independence and probity – is not representative of the diverse society it serves,” he said. “A more diverse judiciary is essential if the public’s confidence in its judges is to be maintained and strengthened.”
The consultation paper, Increasing Diversity in the Judiciary, is available at: www.dca.gov.uk/consult/judiciary/diversitycp25-04.htm