The Labour MP who conducted a government-commissioned race review of the criminal justice system has backed calls for judicial office-holders to receive compulsory anti-racist and racial bias training, after meeting academics and authors behind a report, published by the University of Manchester last autumn, that concluded judges were presiding over an ‘institutionally racist’ justice system.

Yesterday, the university announced that David Lammy, who was commissioned by the government under David Cameron to conduct a landmark race review of the criminal justice system, met the team behind the report.

In a university press release, Lammy, now shadow foreign secretary, said: ‘My review recognised the need for action to combat racism and racial bias in the criminal justice system, but action is well overdue. Having met with academics and co-authors from The University of Manchester, I welcome their latest report which adds further evidence and provides feedback directly from members of the legal profession and judiciary. 

David Lammy

Lammy met the team behind a report that concluded the justice system is institutionally racist

Source: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

‘Action to embed compulsory antiracist and racial bias training for all judicial office holders, which is a key recommendation of the report, would encourage a culture shift towards antiracist practice.’

The university’s report was published in response to the five-year Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

Last week the judiciary published an update on the strategy. The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said: ‘Two years into the five-year strategy, many of the immediate actions set out have been completed. There is, of course, much more to do in order to achieve the strategy’s four core objectives, and in pursuit of a judiciary more representative of society.’

According to the update, a ‘statement of expected behaviour’, unveiled last week, will be incorporated into inclusion and induction training for judges. The Equal Treatment Bench Book will be reviewed this year.