Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • on 1 April 2019, 92.6% of court judges were White and 7.4% were from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups (out of those whose ethnicity was known)
  • 88.9% of tribunal judges were White, and 11.1% were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups
  • Asian people made up 3.6% of court judges and 5.6% of tribunal judges, the second highest percentage after the White ethnic group
  • 17.4% of non-legal tribunal members were from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups
  • among Asian members of the judiciary, 18.6% of were court judges while 63.6% were non-legal tribunal members (who tend to have a specific area of expertise)
  • among those with Mixed ethnicity, 40.5% were court judges, while 30.6% were non-legal tribunal members
Things you need to know

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary are asked to give their ethnicity when they start their role. There isn't currently a way for them to update their record if they want to give their ethnicity later.

In this data, 13.7% of court judges, 7.1% of tribunal judges and 9.9% of non-legal members of the judiciary didn't give their ethnicity. This adds some uncertainty to the percentages shown here.

The source of the data is a human resources system for the judiciary made up of data imported from 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.

For example, on 1 April 2019, 42% of all judges were at least 60 years old. According to Census data, the White ethnic group has an older age profile than ethnic minority groups.

Judges need to have a legal background. Non-legal members of the judiciary usually have a specific area of expertise like medicine. There is no onward progression from being a non-legal tribunal member to a judge.

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

The data doesn't include:

  • tribunals that are the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government
  • non-legal members of the judiciary in employment tribunals in Scotland

Tribunals are specialist judicial bodies that decide on cases like workplace disputes and appeals against benefits decisions. Judges usually chair tribunal hearings, but non-legal members like doctors and accountants also take part.

The data is broken down by ethnicity and analysed in 2 different ways. The first analysis shows the percentage of people in each judicial role who are from each ethnic group. For example, the percentage of court judges who are White.

The second analysis shows the percentage of people within each ethnic group who are in each judicial role. For example, the percentage of White people in the judiciary who are court judges.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary are asked to give their ethnicity from a list of 18 ethnic groups.

The number of people was too small to draw firm conclusions about individual ethnic groups, so the data is aggregated into 5 ethnic groups (Asian, Black, Mixed, White and Other).

2. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of court judges, tribunal judges and tribunal non-legal members by ethnicity
Court Judges Tribunal Judges Tribunal non-legal members
Ethnicity Court Judges Number Court Judges % Tribunal Judges Number Tribunal Judges % Tribunal non-legal members Number Tribunal non-legal members %
Asian 100 3.6 96 5.6 343 12.2
Black 30 1.1 31 1.8 60 2.1
Mixed 49 1.8 35 2.0 37 1.3
White 2,564 92.6 1,530 88.9 2,323 82.6
Other 26 0.9 30 1.7 49 1.7
Unknown 441 13.7 132 7.1 309 9.9

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary By ethnicity Summary

These percentages only include judges and non-legal members whose ethnicity was known. 13.7% of court judges didn't declare their ethnicity (a higher percentage than tribunal judges and non-legal members). This adds greater uncertainty to the percentages, particularly for smaller groups.

This data shows that, on 1 April 2019:

  • there were 2,769 court judges, 1,722 tribunal judges, and 2,812 non-legal members of the judiciary for whom ethnicity was known
  • 7.4% of court judges were from the Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic groups
  • 11.1% of tribunal judges and 17.4% of non-legal tribunal members were from the Asian, Black, Mixed or Other ethnic groups
  • White people made up the highest percentage of court judges (92.6%), tribunal judges (88.9%) and non-legal tribunal members (82.6%)
  • Asian people made up the next highest percentage, at 3.6% and 5.6% and 12.2%

3. Ethnic groups by role

Percentage and number of people within each ethnic group by their judicial role
All Court Judges Tribunal Judges Tribunal non-legal members
Ethnicity All Number All % Court Judges Number Court Judges % Tribunal Judges Number Tribunal Judges % Tribunal non-legal members Number Tribunal non-legal members %
Asian 539 100.0 100 18.6 96 17.8 343 63.6
Black 121 100.0 30 24.8 31 25.6 60 49.6
Mixed 121 100.0 49 40.5 35 28.9 37 30.6
White 6,417 100.0 2,564 40.0 1,530 23.8 2,323 36.2
Other 105 100.0 26 24.8 30 28.6 49 46.7
Unknown 882 100.0 441 50.0 132 15.0 309 35.0

Download table data for ‘Ethnic groups by role’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Ethnic groups by role’ (CSV)

Summary of Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary Ethnic groups by role Summary

The ethnicity of 882 members of the judiciary wasn't known. Of those, half (441) were court judges. This means that, for some ethnic groups, the percentage of the judiciary who were court judges may be underestimated.

This data shows that, on 1 April 2019:

  • there were 6,417 White members of the judiciary,
  • 539 members of the judiciary were Asian, 121 were Black, 121 had Mixed ethnicity, and 105 were from the Other ethnic group
  • in the Asian, Black and Other ethnic groups, people were more likely to be non-legal tribunal members than court judges
  • in the White and Mixed ethnic groups, people were more likely to be court judges than non-legal tribunal members

4. 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.

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

The data includes tribunals that are both:

  • administered by HM Courts & Tribunals Service
  • 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 comes from the staff administrative system and is only accurate on the date the extracts were taken.

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary are asked for their ethnicity when they accept an appointment. There is currently no way for them to update to add their ethnicity later.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point.

Further technical information

Guide to Judicial Diversity statistics 2019 (PDF).

5. 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.

6. Download the data

Judges and non-legal members of the judiciary by ethnicity - Spreadsheet (csv) 83 KB

This file contains the following: measure, year, ethnicity, judicial type, judicial role, count, percentage