The Targeted Outreach and Research Team has been set up to lead three initiatives which specifically respond to the need to improve judicial diversity. The team was set up in September 2020, following the publication of a combined statistical report on this topic by the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF).
The report provided a picture that is now being used, along with assessments and evaluation, to take action that leads to positive change. The work of the Targeted Outreach and Research Team is part of the JAC’s ongoing work to contribute to this positive change.
These three initiatives are in addition to our ongoing extensive programme of diversity actions including outreach and support to potential applicants, measures to ensure fair and non-discriminatory selection processes, and diversity data collection and analysis.
What the team does
The Targeted Outreach and Research Team focusses on three things:
- running a pilot programme of targeted outreach for key court and tribunal roles, in which we identify and work with specific eligible candidates from under-represented target groups
- overseeing research, analysis and stakeholder engagement on measures used successfully by other common law jurisdictions to improve judicial diversity – to better understand how these might be used in England and Wales
- ensuring we consistently convene ethnically diverse selection panels
The pilot programme of targeted outreach is designed to support our statutory duty to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection. Specifically, it aims to support improved outcomes for JAC target groups (BAME people, women, disabled candidates and solicitors) in recruitment for key court and tribunal roles. We want to try and help candidates overcome some of the barriers to judicial appointment that we know exist for underrepresented groups.
As an extension of our current programme of targeted outreach activity, our small, senior team, separate from selection exercise assessments and decisions, is engaging with candidates from these under-represented groups. Candidates will benefit from tailored advice, guidance and access to wider support.
The pilot focusses specifically on senior salaried roles, and their main fee-paid pipelines, that remain particularly underrepresented for BAME (and to a lesser extent women and solicitor) candidates: namely High Court; Deputy High Court; Circuit Judge; Recorder and Upper Tribunal. Priority is given to the group(s) with lowest outcomes and these candidates will be encouraged to apply when they are ready, in line with our outreach strategy.
The pilot programme began in September 2020 and the work is prioritised by the timing of upcoming recruitment exercises in scope.
The pilot is being funded by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and runs for 2 years (2 exercise programme cycles) with a light touch review after 12 months by JAC and MoJ.
How we identify candidates
The Targeted Outreach and Research Team are using three key workstreams to identify potential candidates. These methods are:
- identifying ‘near-miss’ candidates from previous selection exercises, as we know not everyone is successful first time around in judicial applications
- using insights on the candidate pool from the pilot team, as well as nominations from external stakeholders
- encouraging candidates to self-refer through the candidate application form below
How to apply
The targeted outreach team is ready to offer support in a confidential, friendly and safe space. If you think you could be eligible for, and would benefit from, this support you can self-refer using the self-referral application form launched in November 2020. Should you have any difficulties filling out the online form, please feel free to download the Word version. Once completed, please return to the Targeted Outreach team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The form allows candidates who might not have previously considered applying for key targeted roles (namely High Court; Deputy High Court; Circuit Judge; Recorder and Upper Tribunal) as well as ‘near miss’ candidates to contact us directly to ask for tailored advice, support and/or further assistance.
The pilot team is made up of 3 former commissioners working part-time. Due to this limited capacity, we have developed a prioritisation approach to make sure those candidates who would most benefit from this support get the assistance they need. The prioritisation is based on:
- levels of underrepresentation of target groups within the specific roles
- likely impact in relation to successful outcomes in exercises in the 2-year cycle
- the timing of upcoming exercises
While we are not able to guarantee that everyone who contacts us will be able to take part in this programme, all candidates who contact the pilot team will receive advice on preparing for a judicial appointment and information on support programmes run by other JDF partners, including PAJE.
Potential candidates who are able to take part will be offered tailored advice and support in preparing for judicial appointment. This could include guidance and support in accessing judicial mentoring and coaching programmes and suitable sitting experience.
As the Targeted Outreach and Research programme is focussed on providing additional targeted support to those that are eligible for judicial appointments from the following four underrepresented groups – all black, Asian and minority ethnic lawyers, all women lawyers, all lawyers with disabilities and/or solicitors and chartered legal executives (both with a litigation and non-litigation background) and those from a non-litigation background including academic and non-practising barristers – applications to self-refer will be prioritised for those individuals.
In light of the current circumstances of COVID-19, there may be a mixture of virtual and face-to-face opportunities to meet with the team, in accordance with current guidance, members availability and personal circumstance.
The application window will be open from 9 November 2020 to Summer 2021, with the aim that applications will be reviewed on a continual, rolling basis.
If you have any queries, please contact us.
The continued integrity of the independent, fair, open and merit-based process on which the JAC works will be assured by a strictly enforced ‘information barrier’ between the activities of the targeted outreach pilot team, and the ongoing selection process and decisions of the Commission’s Selection and Character Committee.
Information about potential candidates engaged in this pilot programme will not generally be available to anyone outside of the pilot team. The only exception to this is where a potential candidate agrees to be put in touch with a serving judge as part of a follow-up programme, in which case information about the candidate will be shared with the relevant judge. The pilot team will be accountable to the JAC Chief Executive and Board through regular reports with anonymised and aggregated information on their activities and impact. Necessary data handling protocols and technical restrictions on data access will be introduced.
Meet the team
Lady Justice Anne Rafferty
Dame Anne Rafferty (until July 2020 the Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty) was Vice Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission 2017 – 2020.
She was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011 and a High Court judge (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2000. She was made a Recorder in 1991, and a deputy High Court judge in 1996. She was Chairman of the Judicial College 2014- 2020 and Deputy Chairman (de facto Chairman) of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee 2012 to 2017.
She began her professional career as a barrister in 1973 and practised in criminal law. She was the first woman to chair the Criminal Bar Association, and the first woman Presiding Judge on the SE Circuit. In 2015 she was made Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.
HH Phillip Sycamore CBE
His Honour Phillip Sycamore was appointed as a senior judicial member of the Judicial Appointments Commission on 9 June 2014 and was reappointed for a further 3 years from 8 June 2017.
Phillip was appointed a Circuit judge in 2001 and in 2008 became the Chamber President of the First-tier Tribunal (Health Education and Social Care Chamber), a Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and a Deputy High Court Judge. He was Deputy Vice President of Tribunals until he retired from full time judicial office in March 2020. He was previously the liaison judge for the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales from 1997 to 1998 and a Recorder from 1999 to 2001.
Martin Forde QC
Martin Forde QC has a practice which covers all aspects of Health Law. He appears regularly in all the Regulatory and Disciplinary tribunals predominantly for practitioners including doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and optometrists. He is currently acting as the Independent Advisor to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
In 2020, the Powerlist named Martin as one of the most influential people for their impact on Politics, Law & Religion. He was listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 lawyers of 2019. In June 2020, Counsel Magazine interviewed Martin about Windrush, citizenship and diversity at the Bar as their front cover feature (here).
He has acted for the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council but almost exclusively represents medical practitioners before the medical and veterinary tribunals. He has appeared in a number of major cases in the Privy Council and has been involved in medical related judicial review hearings in the Administrative Court as well as judicial review hearings involving mental health and immigration issues.
His clinical negligence and personal injury practice is exclusively undertaken in the High Court involving injuries of maximum severity.
His experience of Inquests is extensive particularly in cases involving a mental health element.
He has appeared on many occasions in the Employment Tribunal acting for NHS Trusts and medical practitioners. He has appeared in First and Upper Tribunal Performer’s List proceedings, internal Trust and PCT hearings and has an extensive FHSAA practice.
He has been recognised as a band 1 practitioner by Chambers & Partners since 2010.
JAC Head of Unit: Nikita Sharma