Julie Mellor, the head of Britain’s equal opportunities watchdog, has called
on the legal profession to end the old boys’ network approach to appointing new
members of the judiciary.
Mellor, chairwoman of the equal opportunities commission, said there needed
to be a much more modern and transparent way of appointing judges, QCs and
members of the Supreme Court.
She claimed that an investigation into judicial appointments had uncovered
shocking evidence that showed the system was excluding women and ethnic
"The archaic and arbitrary nature of some of these appointments means
some of the best people are not being appointed. The use of automatic
consultees creates the risk that the people consulted will simply appoint in
their own image. This practice must stop," she said.
Last year’s figures found that women represent just 31 per cent of judges,
one of the country’s 12 law lords and 12 of the 133 QC appointments.
Responding to the government’s consultation on constitutional reform, Mellor
said all appointments should be made on merit as the result of an open
advertisement and competition. "It’s time the legal profession caught up
with the modern approach used by employers that have brought in rigorous
"They have found that they are able to recruit a more diverse range of
people and the quality of decision making has improved as a result," she