Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary

The main facts and figures show that:

  • as at 1 April 2018, 6.8% of court judges and 10.6% of tribunal judges whose ethnicity was known were from either the Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic group
  • among those whose ethnicity was known, White judges made up the highest percentage of both court and tribunal judges, at 93.2% and 89.4% respectively; Asian judges made up the second highest percentage, at 3.1% and 4.8% respectively
  • 16.7% of non-legal tribunal members were from either the Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic group, an increase of around 0.4 percentage points since 2017
  • Asian members of the judiciary were less likely to be court judges, which requires a legal background (at 16.3%), than to be non-legal tribunal members, who tend to have a specific area of expertise (at 68.0%); in contrast, members of the judiciary of Mixed ethnicity were more likely to be court judges (at 40.2%) than to be non-legal tribunal members (at 32.4%)
Things you need to know

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary are asked to declare their ethnicity voluntarily on taking up of a new appointment. 16% of court judges, 8% of tribunal judges and 10% of non-legal members of the judiciary didn't declare their ethnicity on taking up their appointment, and there is currently no facility for judicial office holders to update their declaration. Non-declaration adds some uncertainty to the breakdowns by ethnicity, in particular when considering smaller groups, such as breakdowns by role.

The source of the data is an electronic human resources system for the judiciary that contains data imported from a number of other systems. Differences in the age profiles of judges and non-legal members of the judiciary make it difficult to compare their ethnic make up both with each other and with the general population. For example, as at 1 April 2018, 46% of all judges were at least 60 years old. According to the 2011 Census of England and Wales, people from ethnic minority groups make up a smaller percentage of the population as the population gets older.

Judges require a substantial legal background, while non-members of the judiciary usually have a specific area of expertise (for example medicine). There is no onward progression from being a non-legal tribunal member to a judge, as the nature of the roles require entirely different professional expertise and experience.

What the data measures

This data measures:

  • the number of judges in courts in England and Wales
  • the number of judges and non-legal members of the judiciary in tribunals in England and Wales (excluding tribunals that are the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government), and non-legal members of the judiciary in employment tribunals in Scotland

Tribunals are specialist judicial bodies which decide on cases ranging from workplace disputes to appeals against decisions of government departments (including benefits, and immigration and asylum). Most tribunal hearings are chaired by judges but often include specialist, non-legal members like doctors, accountants or surveyors.

The data is broken down by ethnicity and analysed in 2 different ways:

  • the 1st analysis takes the number of people in each role (for example, court judges), and tells you the percentage of people in that role from each ethnic group
  • the 2nd analysis takes the number of people in each ethnic group (for example, Asian), and tells you the percentage of people within that ethnic group doing each role
The ethnic categories used in this data

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary are asked to declare their ethnicity using the 18 categories corresponding to the 2011 Census. The number of people studied was too small to draw any firm conclusions about specific ethnic categories. Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 5 broad groups:

  • Asian/Asian British/Chinese
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Percentage and number of court judges, tribunal judges and tribunal non-legal members by ethnicity

Court Judges Tribunal Judges Tribunal non-legal members
Ethnicity Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018
All 3,134 100.0 2,978 100.0 1,786 100.0 1,703 100.0 3,127 100.0 3,122 100.0
Asian 78 3.0 78 3.1 75 4.5 75 4.8 308 11.0 325 11.6
Black 28 1.1 28 1.1 32 1.9 31 2.0 66 2.4 61 2.2
Mixed 39 1.5 41 1.6 28 1.7 28 1.8 31 1.1 33 1.2
White 2,438 93.4 2,338 93.2 1,485 89.8 1,404 89.4 2,344 83.7 2,331 83.3
Other 28 1.1 24 1.0 33 2.0 33 2.1 50 1.8 48 1.7
Unknown 523 N/A* 469 N/A* 133 N/A* 132 N/A* 328 N/A* 324 N/A*

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at 1 April 2018, there were 2,509 court judges, 1,571 tribunal judges, and 2,798 non-legal members of the judiciary whose ethnicity was known
  • of court judges whose ethnicity was known, 6.8% were from either the Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic group; 10.6% of tribunal judges, and 16.7% of non-legal members were from one of these ethnic groups
  • White judges made up the highest percentage of both court and tribunal judges, at 93.2% and 89.4% respectively, followed by Asian judges, at 3.1% and 4.8% respectively
  • people from the Asian ethnic group made up 11.6% of non-legal tribunal members, making them the second largest group after White members (83.3%)
  • 469 court judges (16%) didn't declare their ethnicity – this is a higher percentage than among tribunal judges (8%) and non-legal members of the judiciary (10%), and adds greater uncertainty to the figures for judges, in particular when looking at smaller groups

Ethnic groups broken down by their judicial roles

Percentage and number of people within each ethnic group by their judicial role

Court Judges Tribunal Judges Tribunal non-legal members All
Ethnicity Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017 Headcount 2018 % 2018 Headcount 2017 % 2017
Asian 78 16.3 78 16.9 75 15.7 75 16.3 325 68.0 308 66.8 478 100.0 461 100.0
Black 28 23.3 28 22.2 31 25.8 32 25.4 61 50.8 66 52.4 120 100.0 126 100.0
Mixed 41 40.2 39 39.8 28 27.5 28 28.6 33 32.4 31 31.6 102 100.0 98 100.0
White 2,338 38.5 2,438 38.9 1,404 23.1 1,485 23.7 2,331 38.4 2,344 37.4 6,073 100.0 6,267 100.0
Other 24 22.9 28 25.2 33 31.4 33 29.7 48 45.7 50 45.0 105 100.0 111 100.0
Unknown 469 50.7 523 53.2 132 14.3 133 13.5 324 35.0 328 33.3 925 100.0 984 100.0

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at 1 April 2018, there were 6,173 White members of the judiciary, followed by 478 Asian members, 120 Black members, 105 members from the Other ethnic group, and 102 with Mixed ethnicity; ethnicity wasn’t known for a further 925 members
  • Asian members of the judiciary were less likely to be court judges, which requires a legal background (at 16.3%), than to be non-legal tribunal members, who tend to have a specific area of expertise (at 68.0%)
  • members of the judiciary with Mixed ethnicity were more likely to be court judges (at 40.2%) than to be non-legal tribunal members (at 32.4%)
  • of the 925 members of the judiciary who didn’t declare their ethnicity, around half (469) were court judges – therefore, compared with other judicial roles, there’s a greater chance that the percentage of the judiciary who were court judges is underestimated for some ethnic groups

Methodology

Methodology

The data breaks down the number of court judges in England and Wales by ethnicity. It does the same for judges and non-legal members of the judiciary in tribunals in England and Wales (excluding tribunals that are the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government), and in employment tribunals in Scotland.

If people have more than one role, only their primary role is included in the data.

The data includes tribunals that are administered by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and that fall within the responsibilities of the Senior President of Tribunals – this accounts for most tribunals in England and Wales, and a small number of employment tribunals in Scotland.

Data is extracted from the staff administrative system and represents the point in time at which the extracts were taken.

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary declare their ethnicity on a voluntary basis on taking up of a new appointment. There is currently no facility to update, amend, or make new declarations aside from upon taking up of a new appointment.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point.

Further technical information

Guide to Judicial Diversity statistics 2018 (PDF)

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

This data is used by ministers and officials in central government, the Judicial Appointments Commission and Judicial Office to develop policy on judicial diversity.

It is also used by judges, lawyers and academics, and professional bodies such as The Bar Council, The Law Society, and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Download the data

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary - Spreadsheet (csv) 29 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Court/Tribunal, Court/Tribunal type, Value