Induction training for new judges will tackle the topic of 'implicit bias', according to a five-year action plan to make the judiciary more diverse and inclusive.
The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said the strategy, published yesterday, contains ‘testing and ambitious’ objectives. ‘They demonstrate our collective commitment to ensuring that the judiciary provides an environment in which talented individuals, whatever their personal or professional background, can thrive,’ he added.
By 2022, all judicial office holders will have training and support ‘to gain a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion, to take an anti-discriminatory approach, and to promote positive behaviour and a culture of respect that is sensitive to different needs and intolerant of any discrimination, bullying and harassment’.
The strategy document states that ‘training will include best practice for engagement and effective communication with all manner of people from a variety of backgrounds with different capacities, needs and expectations, as well as the recognition of the existence of implicit bias and how to employ mitigation strategies. The training will support judges in understanding the different influences at work on them and others when hearing and deciding cases and how best to reduce their influence on the conduct and outcome of proceedings’.
All training will be audited by the end of next year to identify any gaps in relation to diversity and inclusion.
Confidential routes will be created to allow judicial office holders to raise questions and concerns.
Women represent a third of court judges; 8% of court judges are of black, Asian or other minority ethnicity.
Lady Justice Simler, chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee, said: ‘While the representation of judges from black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds has increased, progress in this regard is too slow and there is still a long way to go to realise a judiciary that fully reflects the society it serves. Nor can we be complacent about the progress we have made to increase the representation of lawyers in the judiciary with invisible differences and characteristics.’
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