The Supreme Court is expected to revamp its judicial selection process, which could result in more women filling vacancies.
Lady Hale (pictured) is currently the only woman among the 12 Supreme Court justices. However her colleagues Lord Toulson, Lord Neuberger (pictured, left), Lord Clarke, Lord Mance, Lord Hughes and Lord Sumption are all due to retire before the end of 2018.
The forthcoming vacancies enable, for the first time, the selection commission for Supreme Court roles to take into account changes brought in by the Crime and Courts Act 2013. The changes were flagged in a review by former Supreme Court chief executive Jenny Rowe last year.
The act introduced an equal merits provision, which enables candidates to be chosen on the basis of improving diversity when there are two candidates of equal merit.
The equal merits provision has already been adopted by the Judicial Appointments Commission, which selected candidates for the specific purpose of increasing diversity in 14 recommendations for the bench between April 2015 and March 2016.
The act also enables selection commissions to recommend part-time appointments. However, the number of judges in the court cannot exceed 12 full-time equivalents.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court said the selection commission has yet to draft and consult on an equal merits provision policy, which will be the next stage. Timetables for the forthcoming appointments rounds will be considered when the commission has convened.
Lady Justice Hale is predicted to take over as president of the Supreme Court when Neuberger steps down in January 2018.
However, the spokesperson was unable to comment on speculation regarding possible candidates.