Today marks 10 years since the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) was established to strengthen judicial independence through a transparent and independent selection process.
Since 2006 the JAC has recommended more than 4,300 candidates for judicial office. Of these recommendations, 42% were women and 58% men. The JAC has been involved in the appointment of almost half of all judges in post in England and Wales. This includes more than 80 of the current 109 High Court judges. The proportion of court judges who identified their ethnicity as BAME has more than doubled since 2005.
JAC Chairman Christopher Stephens said:
“In 10 years the JAC has established an independent, transparent and modern process to ensure recommendations are open, fair, and made solely on merit.
“We have worked hard to ensure we have the right selection tools to maintain the high calibre of appointments, to encourage a more diverse range of candidates and to speed up the appointments process.
“The judiciary has become more diverse over the past 10 years. I am proud that the JAC has helped to drive that change, working with the government, judiciary and legal profession.”
The JAC is recognised for its open and independent selection of the members of the judiciary. It is also well-known internationally for its work and expertise in judicial selection.
JAC Chief Executive Nigel Reeder said:
“We are determined that the JAC will continue to operate efficiently,focusing on improving the diversity of selections, the candidate experience and the certainty in the quality of those recommended.”
A snapshot of the last 10 years:
- over 4,300 candidates have been recommended by the JAC for judicial posts in courts and tribunals
- the proportion of women in the courts judiciary has risen from 17% in 2005 (643 out of 3,794 judges) to 25% in 2015 (817 out of 3,238 judges)
- a 10 year comparison is not available for tribunals, but data from 2012 shows that the representation of women in the tribunals has increased from 42% (2,515 out of 5,934) to 45% in 2015 (2,522 out of 5,543)
- BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) candidates have applied and been recommended in greater numbers since the JAC was created; since 2005, the proportion of court judges who declared their ethnicity as BAME has increased from just under 3% (109 out of 3,794) to 6% (159 out of 2,686) in 2015
- data from 2012 shows that BAME representation in the tribunals has increased from 11.5% (682 out of 5,934) to 14% (677 out of 5,543) in 2015
- 23 of 109 High Court judges are women; when the JAC was established it was only 10
- it now takes an average of 20 weeks to run a selection exercise, which is half of the time taken in 2006
The JAC has also led the way on digital innovation, moving its application process online in 2015.
More information about the JAC is on the JAC website.