Magistrates

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 31st January 2017.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans her Department has to increase social diversity among magistrates.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

This Government is committed to improving social mobility and extending opportunity so that everyone has the chance to realise their full potential.

We want to build a legal system which draws from all talents and represents the great vitality and diversity of modern Britain.

Magistrates are statistically the most diverse group within the judiciary. More than half of all magistrates are women and 10% are from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

I recognise, however, that more needs to be done to improve diversity including social diversity. As stated in the Government’s response to the Justice Committee’s report into the role of the magistracy, the time is right to carefully consider our approach to recruitment of magistrates, with a particular focus on the Lord Chancellor’s stated aim to increase judicial diversity, so that the magistracy better reflects the society it serves.

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