I recently received an email on behalf of the Judicial Appointments Commission, inviting me to complete a survey because ‘they would like to know your views on what motivates lawyers to apply – or not to apply – for judicial office... One of its statutory responsibilities is to reach and encourage a wide range of applicants to properly reflect the full diversity of the profession.’
I am 42, female, and have seven years’ PQE. My husband, also a solicitor, is 46 and has 20 years’ PQE. He did not get an email from the JAC. I cannot but wonder whether the reason I have been invited to complete the survey, and not my husband, is that my ‘demographic’ is being targeted by the JAC to apply for judicial appointment.
You may ask why I, as a woman, think this is an issue. I am all for increasing diversity within the judiciary. However, should I successfully apply for judicial appointment, it has to be on the basis of merit, not quota targets. There is nothing worse than your male colleagues thinking you were only appointed because you ticked the right diversity boxes, not because you are an excellent lawyer.
Larissa Hutson, Ipswich