Judges by numbers: who makes the grade?

14 June 2018

Nearly two-thirds of lawyers recommended for appointment as judges in the past year went to state school, official figures reveal.

Among those recommended for immediate appointment, 62% went to state school, 34% went to a fee-paying school and 4% were educated abroad. Less than half (44%) had one or more parent who attended university.

Social mobility statistics for the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) were included in the official statistics bulletin for the first time this year. The statistics cover posts in the High Court, County Court, Family Court, Magistrates’ Court and First-tier Tribunal.

The JAC statistics for 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 were released last week. They show higher numbers of barristers (59% of recommendations) than solicitors (21% of recommendations) are being appointed to the judiciary.

Moreover, solicitor representation reduced as the seniority of appointments rose. In the District Judge (Civil) exercise, 47% of recommended candidates were solicitors. In the Recorder exercise, however, 28% of applicants and only 4% of recommended candidates were solicitors. And in the Circuit Judge exercise, solicitors made up 13% of applicants but a mere one per cent of successful candidates.

Compared to previous years, the figures show an increase in the number of solicitors applying for High Court positions but no change in recommendations.