Diversity in the Judiciary: The Case for Positive Action

27 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009

See all articles by Kate Malleson

Kate Malleson

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law


A range of policies has been developed in England and Wales to reform the judicial appointments process so as to promote greater diversity. But despite two decades of official activity, the pace of change has been far slower than anticipated. Increasing awareness of the intransigence of the problem has led to a greater willingness to revisit some of the more fundamental tenets which have underpinned the approach to the problem to date, in particular, the unquestioning and inflexible commitment to the principle of equal treatment. This article examines the different forms of positive action which might play a part in the development of new diversity strategies for the judiciary. It reviews the arguments for and against different types, in terms of effectiveness, quality of appointments, and equity. It goes on to consider the legal frameworks which govern diversity and equality policies and assesses the legal implications of adopting different forms of positive action.

Suggested Citation

Malleson, Kate, Diversity in the Judiciary: The Case for Positive Action. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, Issue 3, pp. 376-402, September 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1486876 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2009.00472.x

Kate Malleson (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

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