Women account for 31 of the 113 candidates who have been appointed to the Queen’s Counsel (QC). The figure is up by six from last year, while the number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates went up from nine to 16 appointees.
QCs are appointed by The Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor. Applicants are assessed by an independent selection panel, which makes recommendations to the Lord Chancellor.
A total of 56 women applied to be a member of this year’s QC roster, compared to 48 in the previous year, which saw 25 successful female applicants. Sixteen of 37 BAME applicants were successful in this year’s selection, compared to nine out of 32 last year.
In addition, two out of five new Honorary Queen’s Counsel members are women, Marcia Willis Stewart and Professor Cheryl Thomas.
Stewart is a prominent civil liberties solicitor who has been at the forefront of public and administrative law for more than a decade.
Thomas, an eminent academic and Professor of Judicial Studies at University College London, is also the country’s leading expert on juries and judges.
Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss welcomed the news and commended each candidate on their appointment. She said: “I want us to tap into all the talents of our society and today’s appointments are a step in the right direction.
“The number of women and BAME candidates applying and being successful is moving in the right direction.
“There is more to be done, but my message is clear – when you widen the pool of talent from which lawyers and judges are drawn, you make the justice system stronger.
An announcement on the Gov.uk website read: “Today the Judicial Appointments Commission also launches the latest recruitment exercise for High Court judges. The selection process has been changed so the wider merits of all candidates are recognised.
“For the first time, it opens the door to a wider pool of ‘direct-entry candidates’ – individuals who while exceptionally talented have not had previous judicial experience.”