Former IAWJ President, Chief Justice Brenda Hale, Addresses the Need for Diversity in the Judiciary

United Kingdom | Chief Justice Brenda Hale, former IAWJ President, talked to The Guardian about the need for diversity in UK’s judiciary.

“The judiciary needs to be more diverse so that the public feel those on the bench are genuinely ‘our judges’ rather than ‘beings from another planet’,” she said.

In the interview commemorating the 1919 act that allowed women to work, Chief Justice Hale “called for a more balanced gender representation on the UK’s highest courts as well as swifter progress promoting those from minority ethnic backgrounds and with ‘less privileged lives’.”

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of UK’s supreme court, Lady Hale believes that the court has improved the accessibility, transparency, and independence of the legal system. Out of the 12 seats of the court, 3 are filled by women. For Chief Justice Hale, “there’s no right number of justices of either gender. An ideal balance would be at least 60/40 either way. And so we still have a little way to go towards that.”

“Diversity … helps, by bringing ‘different perspectives to the discussion’.” She believes that different backgrounds, privileged and unprivileged, increase the accessibility and transparency of the courts.

According to Chief Justice Hale, there is a strong presence of ethnic minority judges in UK tribunals, county courts, and district judges. However, diversity in the higher echelons needs to improve “by being more open to transfers from other [courts]”, as it is slowly starting to happen.

Read the full interview here.