Response to Judicial Appointments Questionnaire on Equal Merit Provision

1.How well is the EMP understood across the legal profession?

Poorly understood. It seems not to be appreciated that the EMP is only used to choose between candidates already of equal and sufficient merit.

2. Since the introduction of the EMP (1st July 2014) 10 candidates have been appointed using this process out of 320 appointments, do you think this is about right?

Association of Women Solicitors, London is delighted to note that the EMP is being utilised and we look forward to many more announcements of appointments of women solicitors. We cannot really comment further though without more information such as the candidate profiles of the other 310 appointments.
3. Is the EMP the right Positive Action (mechanism to encourage more diverse applicants to apply) process to improve diversity across the judiciary?

Yes but the JAC could do more to encourage female applicants such as extending the flexible working entitlement.
4.Do you think the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should work towards ensuring that the judiciary reflects the diversity of society or reflects the overall diversity of the eligible pool (this is the equality benchmark data record of lawyers) of lawyers and judges (which is a lower figure)?

AWS London is not sure on this.
5. Are you in favour of the use of quotas or targets to achieve greater judicial diversity?

Quotas – No Targets – Yes
6. The EMP is currently only considered for Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Women candidates. Do you think the EMP should be extended to any other Protected Characteristics/Groups (if yes which PC/Gs)?

Too early to say.

7.What changes would you like to see (if any) regarding the use of the EMP?

Too early to say and difficult without more information about how it is actually used.

Could the JAC do more by promoting the approach with eg the Public Appointments Office? If the EMP were used more commonly it might be better understood.


Association of Women Solicitors, London. 17 November 2015

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