Letter: Best education for our judges

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The Independent Online
Sir: Stephen Byers, Labour MP, finds that 10 of the 12 people appointed to the High Court last year had been to either Cambridge or Oxford University and concludes that it is 'depressing and disappointing' that such appointees 'continue to be drawn from a very narrow social and educational background'.

May I suggest that his analysis, as presented in your newspaper ('Oxbridge still key to reaching bench', 11 January), is somewhat superficial, and ignores recent developments?

Stating that these individuals had been to Oxford or Cambridge is merely to say that they have received one of the best educations this country has to offer - perhaps no bad thing for a High Court judge?

The important issue, I would have thought, is to ensure that such an education is available to all who have the ability to take advantage of it, irrespective of their social and educational backgrounds, and efforts at Cambridge over recent years have been precisely towards that end, with more and more of our students coming from state schools. One can no longer confidently identify the social and educational background of a person merely by stating that he or she is - or has been - a Cambridge student.

Yours faithfully,



Christ's College


11 January