The UK’s highest court is to offer paid internships to aspiring lawyers from underrepresented groups in a bid to boost diversity in the judiciary.
The Supreme Court has partnered with D&I charity Bridging the Bar on a scheme that will offer five-day paid placements to eight candidates who have either completed or accepted an offer to take the bar training course.
Supreme Court chief executive Vicky Fox said: “The court recognises that it has a leadership role to play to support increasing diversity of the judiciary and it is our intention that this programme will support the progression of underrepresented groups into the legal profession and ultimately into judicial roles.
“We are looking forward to learning from the interns and hope that the programme will provide an intellectually stimulating experience for participants and support them to pursue a career in the law.”
Eleanor Tack, head of marshalling and court related projects at Bridging the Bar, said: “It’s going to be a really challenging week for the candidates who will be asked to discuss legal arguments with the judicial assistants and Justices and give a presentation at the end. For this reason, only candidates of the highest quality will be selected, and we expect the competition to be extremely high.”
Diversity in law
The candidates will take part in two days’ preparatory training before their placement.
The Supreme Court has also published its judicial diversity and inclusion strategy, which aims to support the progress of underrepresented groups into judicial roles and to achieve an inclusive and respectful working environment for justices.
Its action plan includes:
- training on bias awareness for Justices
- reverse mentoring opportunities
- a buddy system for new Justices
- addressing gaps in diversity and inclusion training
- building links with organisations that represent minority groups
- speaking events at a wide range of schools and universities
- promoting flexible working patterns and part-time working
- expanding online opportunities to give people a better understanding of the role of Justices, building on an existing podcast series.