There are 3 key aspects to the JAC’s diversity strategy.
- all vacancies are advertised on the JAC’s website and by our stakeholders in the legal professions and judiciary
- vacancies are also advertised in the JAC’s monthly email newsletter, Judging Your Future, on Twitter and LinkedIn
- the JAC participates in training workshops and outreach events for potential candidates with its partners in the legal professions and Judicial Office
- the JAC publishes articles in legal specialist media to inform potential candidates about joining the judiciary and forthcoming selection exercises
- there are over 60 case studies and podcasts with successful candidates from a range of different backgrounds on the JAC website
- the JAC website also includes information about competency‑based assessment, the Am I Ready? tools and other guidance to assist candidates with their application
- where we identify that there is a particular shortage of candidates from diverse backgrounds which is negatively affecting the strength or diversity of the field we may target outreach to candidates from that group. We may also work with partners to provide advice and mentoring to those candidates.
Targeted candidate outreach and support for senior court and tribunal roles
From September 2020, a small, separate unit (from selection exercise assessments and decisions) – comprising of a JAC staff member and 3 former Commissioners – is tasked to engage with, and provide advice and guidance to, potential BAME, women, disabled and solicitor candidates for specific senior court and tribunal roles. This is a two-year pilot programme of targeted outreach and support activity funded by the MoJ.
The three former Commissioners within the unit are:
Dame Anne Rafferty
Dame Anne Rafferty (until July 2020 the Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty) was Vice Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission 2017 - 2020. She was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011 and a High Court judge (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2000. She was made a Recorder in 1991, and a deputy High Court judge in 1996. She was Chairman of the Judicial College 2014- 2020 and Deputy Chairman (de facto Chairman) of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee 2012 to 2017. She began her professional career as a barrister in 1973 and practised in criminal law. She was the first woman to chair the Criminal Bar Association, and the first woman Presiding Judge on the SE Circuit. In 2015 she was made Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.
Martin Forde QC
Martin Forde QC has a practice which covers all aspects of Health Law. He appears regularly in all the Regulatory and Disciplinary tribunals predominantly for practitioners including doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and optometrists. He is currently acting as the Independent Advisor to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
In 2020, the Powerlist named Martin as one of the most influential people for their impact on Politics, Law & Religion. He was listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 lawyers of 2019. In June 2020, Counsel Magazine interviewed Martin about Windrush, citizenship and diversity at the Bar as their front cover feature. He has acted for the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council.
He has appeared in a number of major cases in the Privy Council and has been involved in medical related judicial review hearings in the Administrative Court as well as judicial review hearings involving mental health and immigration issues. His clinical negligence and personal injury practice is exclusively undertaken in the High Court involving injuries of maximum severity. His experience of Inquests is extensive particularly in cases involving a mental health element. He has appeared on many occasions in the Employment Tribunal acting for NHS Trusts and medical practitioners. He has appeared in MHPS and FHSAA by the First and Upper Tier tribunal, internal Trust and PCT hearings. He has been recognised as a band 1 practitioner by Chambers & Partners since 2010
His Honour Phillip Sycamore was appointed as a senior judicial member of the Judicial Appointments Commission on 9 June 2014 and was reappointed for a further 3 years from 8 June 2017. Phillip was appointed a Circuit judge in 2001 and in 2008 became the Chamber President of the First-tier Tribunal (Health Education and Social Care Chamber), a Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and a Deputy High Court Judge. He was Deputy Vice President of Tribunals until he retired from full time judicial office in March 2020. He was previously the liaison judge for the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales from 1997 to 1998 and a Recorder from 1999 to 2001.
2. Fair and non-discriminatory selection processes
The JAC applies quality assurance checks throughout the selection process to ensure proper procedures are followed, standards are maintained and all stages of recruitment are free from bias.
Selection exercise materials are developed in line with independent expert advice and are reviewed throughout their development for possible unfairness. This includes:
- review of material by staff and the JAC Advisory Group to ensure that the content is not inadvertently advantageous to candidates from a particular legal background, jurisdiction or practice area
- ensuring that the content and tone does not contain stereotypes, colloquialisms or language that may be off‑putting to different groups, and that role play and scenarios feature a diverse range of characters
- testing all assessment materials with mock candidates and then making adjustments to the content and timing
- using improved analytics following dry runs to identify and address any issues with questions in qualifying tests
The selection process itself is also carefully monitored by the JAC, including:
- observing live role plays, telephone assessments and interviews to ensure consistency across panels
- monitoring the progression of candidate groups at key stages in the selection process: post-application, after each stage of shortlisting and post-selection day
- carrying out equality impact assessments on all major changes to the selection process to ensure that the changes will not have adverse effects on any particular group
- panel members are briefed on fair selection before each stage of a selection exercise. This training is aimed at mitigating unconscious bias and covers different professional and judicial backgrounds, as well as the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010
- reasonable adjustments are considered at all stages of the process for candidates with physical, sensory and mental health disabilities, and long-term health conditions. The JAC also considers reasonable adjustments for those suffering from short-term injury or temporary illness
- a Commissioner is assigned to each exercise to oversee quality assurance and fair selection
- the JAC follows its published process, consistently assessing candidates against a bespoke competency framework or set of skills and abilities for each exercise
- Until 2018-19 Official Statistics bulletins were published annually to record performance, including the diversity of selections. From September 2020, JAC official statistics are published as part of a Judicial Diversity Forum combined statistical report, bringing together data on judicial appointments, the judiciary and the legal professions.
3. Working with others to break down barriers
- the JAC chairs the Judicial Diversity Forum, which brings together leaders of organisations from across the legal sector to provide strategic direction to activities aimed at increasing judicial diversity
- the JAC speaks about the selection process at events run by the legal professions, the judiciary, Judicial Office and other groups
- the JAC assists the legal professions with the development of support programmes for their members who are interested in judicial careers
- As part of the Judicial Diversity Forum, the JAC supports the delivery of the Pre‑application Judicial Education programme (PAJE), which is targeted at prospective candidates from under-represented groups.