AN online education programme was launched today (24) to help lawyers from underrepresented groups to become judges.
The Pre-Application Judicial Education (PAJE) programme will help lawyers develop their understanding of the role and skills required of a judge, before they apply.
Targeted participants from underrepresented groups will have access to judges who will share their insight into the realities of being a judge and the ways in which participants can try to overcome perceived barriers.
Lord Chancellor David Gauke said it was important to encourage diversity as it helps to foster a legal system that reflects the range of voices in the society.
“The PAJE programme is a positive step forward to support lawyers from all backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups as they aspire towards a judicial career. We are strengthening our world-renowned justice system by drawing on a greater diverse range of knowledge and expertise,” he said.
The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett, said: “Promoting diversity and appointing on the basis of merit are mutually reinforcing because the wider the pool the greater the availability of talent, the greater the competition for places and the greater the quality of appointments.”
Praising the programme, Lord Kakkar, chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Judicial Diversity Forum, said it would help potential candidates understand what is required and be better prepared for judicial appointment.
“The Judicial Appointments Commission is pleased to be part of this and looks forward to reporting on its impact in future years.”
Developed using Government funding, the programme is the first joint initiative from the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF), which aims to encourage diversity within the judiciary.