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01 June 1999

Judging Labour on the judges
One of Labour's election pledges was to modernise the judiciary. But according to a survey by Labour Research magazine, little has changed in the two years since Labour came to power. The judges remain overwhelmingly white, male, middle class and elderly.

The Labour Research survey covered 692 judges including the 85 (one in eight judges) who had been appointed or promoted since the beginning of 1997, almost all since the general election in May that year.

The survey found that:
* Most of the 85 judges appointed or promoted since 1997 have been white men. They include just seven women. Overall women account for just six per cent of the judiciary (45 out of 692) and ethnic minority judges make up less than one per cent of the total.
* Almost eight out of 10 (79%) of those appointed or promoted since 1997 had been to public school and 73% had been to Oxbridge universities. These figures are worse than those for the judiciary as a whole. Overall 69% of those judges for whom information is available went to public school while 64% went to Oxbridge.
* Labour has had some impact on the age profile of the judges, however. The average age of those appointed or promoted since 1997 is 55 compared with an average age of 60 for the judiciary as a whole. And while one in five of Labour appointees are aged 60 or over this compares with a third of judges in total.

Notes to editors

Full details of the Labour Research survey of judges are published in the June 1999 issue of the magazine. The price of a single copy is ?2.80 (?3.10 including postage).
The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 88 years ago. More than 2,000 trade union organisations, including 55 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership are affiliated.
For more details contact Sonia McKay on 0171 902 9827.

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