Jack Straw’s just noticed….

// 14 May 2008

I’ve heard of oblivious but Jack Straw has seemingly only just noticed that our judges are overwhelming white and male. Now he claims he wants to do something about it. Perhaps that will take less time than the 20 years it’s taken to notice the problem in the first place.

Concerns about white, middle class men dominating the bench were justified, he told the Justice Select Committee. Mr Straw said he was determined to ensure that the judiciary represented wider society better. “The expectation that a new system would lead to a more diverse judiciary has so far not been fulfilled,” he said in evidence to the committee.

From BBC News

This comes after the not surprising news that there are now fewer female judges and few from minority ethnic populations than under the previous selection process. Women now constitute just 34% of judges and minority ethnic women judges are rarer than stardust.

Comments From You

Anne Onne // Posted 14 May 2008 at 9:38 am

He might first want to work on a way to remove judges who are clearly incompetent, which would probably take care of quite a few of his white, male judges. I have no faith in a system where it is practically impossible to get rid of (I don’t know the technical term for ‘de-judge’) a judge who repeatedly hands out crazy sentences or verdicts. I also have little faith in a system where we crow about how few rape convictions there are, but allow the defending side (aka accused rapists) to pick out a jury with 10 men and 2 women, show the victim’s underwear in court, and judge any evidence that the victim ever consented to sex as meaning she can’t have been raped. So, you know, this is a very small fix compared to all the other things wrong with the judicial system. But I hope it works.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 14 May 2008 at 1:22 pm

Feminists have been telling you this for years Jack but to date you refused to listen. I wonder why? Could it be election time is creeping ever closer and pseudo promises are now appearing in order to obtain women’s vote. How about changing the system Jack so that misogynstic and blatantly biased judges can be removed from office. Because at present once appointed it is for life.

Deborah // Posted 14 May 2008 at 3:02 pm

I agree, I think getting rid of the “judge for life” rubbish is essential. Most judges male and white but I’d like to know what the average age is.

Shea // Posted 14 May 2008 at 3:07 pm

In absolute agreement with Jennifer Drew here. This has been a problem for 30+ years and now they are “choosing” to notice this? What about the number of male, white, middle class barristers, because thats where you get your judges from? Now Nulab are realising how little attention they have paid to equality and women’s issues and how it is just about to turn around and bite them in the butt, so they wheel out phony promises in the hope we will vote for them. I DONT THINK SO!

Rachel // Posted 14 May 2008 at 3:07 pm

Furthermore, the majority of those women judges sit very low down in the court system, so they never get to judge in the more important, precedent setting cases. Ever heard of a female House of Lords member? no me niether….

Nina // Posted 14 May 2008 at 3:37 pm

I am a little confused by this, was Jack Straw specifically meant to have demonstrated that he’d noticed this before in some way?

Kuja // Posted 14 May 2008 at 9:49 pm

The question is, how does someone NOT notice?

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds