New appointments to make Britain’s supreme court more diverse: Senior British judge

There are normally 12 members of the supreme court.

By: IANS | London | Published:November 22, 2016 8:10 am

Britian’s most senior judge, Lord Neuberger, while announcing his retirement next summer, signalled the launch of a judicial appointments process that could — through offering flexible working practices — improve diversity on the supreme court bench. Confirming his departure, the 68-year-old president of the court, said that six new justices would be appointed over the next 18 months, The Guardian reported on Monday.

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There are normally 12 members of the supreme court. Only one, Lady Hale, the deputy president, is a woman. Criticism of the composition of the judiciary has been mounting due to the fact that there are still relatively few senior female judges and only five high court judges from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The justice secretary, Liz Truss, has pledged to introduce measures to improve diversity on the benches. In an attempt to improve diversity, Neuberger said there would be half-day “insight sessions” offered to prospective candidates where they would be given a tour of the court, allowed to spend time observing proceedings, and offered a private meeting with a current supreme court justice.

The appointments will be in two batches of three positions each, to improve the chances of recruiting from a wider background. Information on “flexible working” would be offered in the job information pack for the first time.