The Legal Profession as Gatekeeper to the Judiciary: Design Faults in Measures to Enhance Diversity

27 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2011

See all articles by Lizzie Barmes

Lizzie Barmes

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Kate Malleson

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2011

Abstract

The gate-keeping role played by the legal profession in the judicial appointments process gives rise to the translation of entrenched group-based identity hierarchies from legal practice into the judiciary. The relationship between the composition of the legal profession and the judiciary has been almost completely unaffected by recent reforms designed to increase diversity in the composition of the judiciary. This article identifies legal and institutional defects which help to explain the failure to disrupt the reproduction of these patterns of appointment. We identify two particular defects which we call soft target radicalism and regulatory bind as important factors inhibiting change. We conclude that if the legal profession is to retain its gate-keeping role, equality law which directly regulates legal practice should be strengthened and the regulatory binds in which the Judicial Appointments Commission and other public entities are caught should be loosened.

Suggested Citation

Barmes, Lizzie and Malleson, Kate, The Legal Profession as Gatekeeper to the Judiciary: Design Faults in Measures to Enhance Diversity (March 4, 2011). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 74, Issue 2, pp. 245-271, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1781577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2011.00845.x

Lizzie Barmes (Contact Author)

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

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

Kate Malleson

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

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

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