A drive to recruit a more diverse judiciary has resulted in a notable increase in the percentage of people from ethnic minority groups appointed as judges, magistrates and tribunal members in England and Wales during 2003-2004, according to the Government.
Figures from the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) show that the appointment of individuals from these groups to judicial office, including lay and medical appointments, increased to 14.8 per cent from 8.9 per cent last year.
The increase comes mainly from lay appointments to tribunals and is more than triple the figure in 1999-2000, when ethnic minority appointments accounted for just 4.2 per cent of total appointments.
The percentage of female appointments rose to 32 per cent, a slight increase on last year, and 2003-2004 also saw the first female, ethnic minority appointment to the High Court.
The secretary of state for constitutional affairs and Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, said the judiciary must reflect the society it serves.
“This report shows my continuing determination, in partnership with the judiciary, to develop a modern appointments system that will deliver both the quality and the diversity of judiciary that our society needs,” he said.