Increasing judicial diversity is not something that can be achieved by one organisation alone: there are a range of different bodies who have important roles to play. This is why working in collaboration with partners, and supporting their individual diversity activities, is a core part of our work.
The main way we do this is through our chairing and membership of the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF). The Forum brings together organisations from across the legal sector to identify ways to support increased judicial diversity.
The JDF provides strategic direction in the areas of challenging structural barriers to appointment, analysing and addressing the reasons behind how people’s careers progress, and the gathering and use of data and evidence. The Forum’s objective is to resolve issues of common concern, and coordinating agreed activities aimed at encouraging greater judicial diversity. Forum members support each other’s initiatives and undertake joint projects.
The members of the JDF are:
- Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission (Chair of the Forum)
- Lord Chancellor (Ministry of Justice)
- Lord Chief Justice (Judiciary)
- Chair of The Bar Council
- President of The Law Society
- President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
- Chair of the Legal Services Board
The JDF brings together leaders from organisations from across the legal sector to identify and implement ways of improving judicial diversity.
Terms of Reference
The Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF/’the Forum’) replaced the Judicial Diversity Taskforce in 2015 as the body responsible for coordinating efforts to encourage judicial diversity. The format of the Forum was reviewed in 2019 and a terms of reference agreed.
Under the terms of reference, the JDF agreed to publish an annual combined statistical report to bring together data on the diversity of the judiciary, judicial appointments and from the relevant professional bodies (the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)). The report provides a picture not only of the diversity of today’s judiciary, but also of the process by which judges are recruited and the diversity of the pool from which much of that judiciary is drawn – the legal professions.
The very first report combined statistical report and accompanying narrative were published in 2020. The latest combined statistical report and accompany narrative for 2021 are available at the links below:
- The latest combined statistical report is available here
- Latest combined statistical report narrative here
The JDF terms of reference also set out a commitment to publish an annual action plan outlining the wide range of activities that members of the Judicial Diversity Forum are undertaking to support and drive greater judicial diversity.
In February 2023, the National Centre for Social Research published the findings of a review into judicial diversity in England and Wales. The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, on behalf of the Judicial Diversity Forum, to provide an updated evidence base on barriers to judicial appointment, current diversity initiatives designed to overcome barriers and improve diversity within the legal professions and the judiciary, and their effectiveness.
In December 2022, the JDF published an update on the wide range of actions that its members are undertaking, both collectively and individually, to achieve a more diverse and inclusive judiciary.
This update reflects the work the JDF has done to strengthen the evaluation and impact of partners’ diversity and inclusion initiatives in 2021/2022, and includes the publication of:
- Priorities and actions for 2023, including an update on progress against the 2022 action plan and the implementation of a Theory of Change methodology to evaluate the impact of JDF partners’ initiatives.
- A covering statement explaining the strengthened approach to evaluation adopted by the JDF and suggestions for future work.
The member organisations of the JDF are: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Judiciary, the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and The Legal Services Board (LSB).
- The JDF is chaired by the JAC Chair, Professor Lord Kakkar
- The Forum will meet twice a year (usually in May and November).