Extend judicial eligibility for CILEx lawyers in light of Lammy Review
11 September 2017
Following the publication of David Lammy’s review into the experience of BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) people in the criminal justice system, CILEx has called for the removal of the glass ceiling on Chartered Legal Executive lawyers seeking judicial appointment.
CILEx president Millicent Grant FCILEx said: “I commend David Lammy for this evidenced and thoughtful review. It gives profile to an important issue, and CILEx stands ready to play our part.
“The profession I lead is committed to finding systemic solutions to the problems our justice system faces. We are eager to engage with the Government, and our fellow professional associations the Law Society and Bar Council, to address how the legal profession can support BAME people in the criminal justice system. This includes how CILEx can best support our Chartered Legal Executive lawyers working on criminal cases, including those on the duty rota for police stations.
“The recommendations to improve the diversity of the judiciary are critically important, and Chartered Legal Executives are an essential part of the solution. CILEx members are the most diverse group of lawyers in the UK (three-quarters are women, and one third of students are BAME), yet are the least represented group among the judiciary. This is in part because of outdated assumptions about Chartered Legal Executives, but also because there is a glass ceiling that prevents lawyers like me applying for senior judicial roles. The government needs to scrap this unjustified barrier, and take other practical steps, if it is to have any hope of achieving a judiciary that is more reflective of the society it serves.”
Currently Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are only eligible to apply for judicial roles up to the level of District Judge. This puts them at a disadvantage to their solicitor and barrister counterparts who are eligible to apply for more senior roles from the outset.
CILEx recently launched the CILEx Judicial Development Programme, which will provide aspiring Chartered Legal Executives with one-to-one mentoring from judges, and tailored support in preparing themselves for applying.