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31 July 2023
Diversity, disparity and inclusion Practicalities of being a magistrate

The magistracy should reflect the communities it serves.

The text reads: media statement

Responding to the latest official figures on the magistrates’ recruitment drive, Tom Franklin, the Chief Executive of the Magistrates’ Association said:

“It is still early days for the largest recruitment campaign in the history of the magistracy, and the picture so far is mixed. There are some encouraging signs: overall, magistrate numbers are up for the first time in more than a decade, and more younger people are being recruited than in the past.

“However, we are disappointed to see that the success rate of applicants from ethnic minority backgrounds is significantly lower than that of white applicants. We urge the Ministry of Justice to investigate the reasons for this and to take corrective action. Although it is encouraging that 24 per cent of applications were made by people of ethnic minority backgrounds, this is of little use if they are not converting into appointments. The same is true for those who have manual occupations.

“The magistracy is already by far the most diverse part of the judiciary, but it still has a very long way to go. It should reflect the communities it serves as everyone seeking justice should feel that courts are accessible to them. The ongoing recruitment drive should continue apace to ensure that the numbers reach 17,000 and don’t slip back again; and the focus on recruiting individuals from currently underrepresented groups must be maintained.

“We also call on the Ministry of Justice to plug the data gaps, which would lead to better actions to improve judicial diversity.”