The full-page article ‘Diversity at any price?’ by an anonymous deputy district judge using the imaginative pseudonym ‘Successor to Solon’ appears to dispute the virtually unanimous view of the profession, including the bar, Law Society and senior judges themselves, that there is a pressing need for greater diversity in the senior judiciary. There is a similar consensus that this will not happen in an acceptable time span unless action is taken to speed up the process.
The report which Karon Monaghan QC and I recently wrote at the request of the shadow lord chancellor is an attempt to suggest some changes which might help to do this.
Your contributor contests only one of several ideas put forward in the report: that the contribution a candidate can make to the diversity of the bench – ‘what a person brings to the mix’, as Lady Hale calls it – is a factor which should be taken into account in assessing the candidate’s merit.
But of course the successful candidate must also have the qualities needed (and carefully identified by the Judicial Appointments Commission) to fulfil the judicial role properly. This is made quite clear in my summary of the report (10 November) which your contributor has evidently overlooked.
Geoffrey Bindman, London