Our association remains deeply concerned that the Lord Chancellor's current proposals are restricted to the lower rungs of judicial appointments, and that he intends to retain the present system of 'secret soundings' among the 'consultation community' - which consists almost exclusively of senior male barristers and judges.
In 1992, the TMS Management Consultants report, Without Prejudice?, commissioned by the Bar Council and the Lord Chancellor's Department, stated:
It is unlikely that the judicial appointments system offers equal access to women . . . The system depends upon patronage, being noticed and being known.
The report points out that
so long as there is a single gender majority in the consultation group and a minority of applicants from other groups, such a selection system is likely to perpetuate existing representation.
While significant reliance continues to be placed upon the current consultation system, I fear that the number of women serving in any judicial capacity will remain unacceptably low.
The Association of
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