"The world is not always is at appears to be through the eyes of barristers"
Baroness Brenda Marjorie Hale of Richmond is pushing for a more diverse judiciary in the UK, saying that gender and ethnic diversity are not enough.
In her keynote at The Law Society of England and Wales’ Junior Lawyers’ Division annual conference, the UK Supreme Court president talked about the moderate success of increasing the number of women on the bench.
A fifth of High Court judges and two Supreme Court judges are women, The Law Society noted. However, Lady Hale said that “something needs to be done” about solicitors’ representation in the courts.
Lady Hale said that there also needs to be better diversity in terms of social and professional background of future appointees, The Law Society said.
“The world is not always is at appears to be through the eyes of barristers,” she said.
Lady Hale noted that five of the sitting justices of the court started their legal career in family law.
“It is often seen as the poor relation, but perhaps this shows some of the qualities that you need, empathy and social awareness, to be a Supreme Court justice,” she said.
Developments in areas of the law, such as legal aid cuts, has disproportionately affected women, Lady Hale said. According to The Law Society, she said the gender pay gap is less than it was, but it remains an issue.
“Go for it, girls,” she said. “Don’t let men overtake you.”