A piece in today’s Times:
The Supreme Court has said that it may positively discriminate in its choice of a new judge.
The court will have a vacancy when Lady Black of Derwent steps down in January. It has begun an online recruitment drive to fill the gap and is actively seeking applications from women and ethnic minorities.
Lady Black, at present one of two female judges on the UK’s highest court, has said that she will retire despite being only 66 and entitled to sit until 2024. She was promoted to the court three years ago and until the retirement of Baroness Hale of Richmond, 75, the court’s president, three of the 12 judges on the bench were women. With Lady Black’s departure, Lady Arden of Heswall, 73, could soon be the only female judge on the court.
In a notice announcing the recruitment process, court officials said that the selection commission in charge of the appointment “welcomes applications from the widest range of applicants eligible to apply, including those who are not currently full-time judges, and particularly encourages applications from those who would increase the diversity of the court”.
The announcement emphasised that under changes to the law this would allow what some [J4MB: “some” = anyone with an IQ above that of a gnat] regard as positive discrimination. It stated: “Where two candidates are deemed to be of equal merit, the commission can give preference to one candidate over the other for the purpose of increasing diversity within the court.” [J4MB emphasis. This is, of course, the big deception at the heart of so many of these drives to increase the proportion of women in senior jobs, enabled by the feminist-drafted Equality Act. Women will very rarely be “of equal merit” as the best man available, and in a 30-year business career in which I interviewed a huge number of people for jobs, I never once faced a situation where two candidates were of equal merit. Lady Hale was very poorly qualified for her role as Supreme Court judge compared with the existing judges – and male candidates – and doubtless the same will be true for the new female or BAME (maybe both) judge.]
The process of filling the vacancy has been modernised with digital advertisements on a dedicated slot on the court’s website.
There has been growing concern over a perceived lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the higher ranks of the judiciary in England and Wales and on the Supreme Court.
Women account for more than half of the newly qualified lawyers in the jurisdiction but relatively few go on to senior judicial careers. Figures from the Ministry of Justice published in April showed that 32 per cent of all court judges were women but that this fell to 26 per cent in the High Court.
“The proportion of women has increased in recent years but remains lower in senior court appointments,” acknowledged ministry officials.
Last month Lord Reed of Allermuir, the president of the Supreme Court, highlighted that 4 per cent of senior judicial appointments go to black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates. Lord Reed, 64, said that he hoped a judge from an ethnic minority background would be promoted to the court during his six-year tenure. He called the lack of diversity at the senior level “a situation that will become shameful if it persists indefinitely”. [J4MB: Then why doesn’t he give up his job for a woman?]
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