It may be controversial but I disagree with the concept of judicial diversity. Membership of the judiciary should be strictly restricted to individuals who satisfy the following criteria.
They must be (1) adults. They must (2) satisfy all the current rules of eligibility as set out by the Judicial Appointments Commission. They must (3) be astute individuals with (4) a logical brain and (5) possess wide legal knowledge.
They must be able to (6) explain complex matters such that ordinary lawyers and lay people can understand them. They must (7) be able to identify from the morass of information presented to them what facts and legal principles are relevant in a particular case. They must (8) have the confidence of their convictions and (9) be fearless in holding to what they consider correct, no matter how much pressure is applied to them. They must be (10) honest and law-abiding citizens with a strong personal moral code (11).
They must (12) be prepared to deal with a heavy workload of disparate cases without complaint. They must (13) be courteous while at the same time (14) firm and (15) able to set aside any personal bias or preconceptions they may hold in order to deal with the case on the sole basis of the facts and the law. They must (16) be good listeners to cut through overlong legal submission and yet allow lay people to present their case. They must (17) not object to occasionally being unfairly pilloried in the press or by ill-informed politicians for the unpopular decisions they have made.
Having located a group of such paragons and persuaded them to abandon all common sense and apply for a judicial position, appointment must be based solely on merit (18). The most competent individuals must be appointed irrespective of sex, marital status, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or skin colour.
I accept that by suggesting that appointments to the judiciary must be restricted to such a narrow group I am, of necessity, also advocating direct discrimination against lesser mortals. I fully expect to be roundly condemned for such an old-fashioned and elitist viewpoint.
J Howard Shelley, solicitor, KJ Conroy & Co, Birmingham