After the announcement of the latest QC appointments, the selection panel has stated that the number of applications from women is still low, having promoted 25 female barristers and solicitor advocates among a total of 107. The selection panel appoints QCs via confidential assessments from judges, advocates and professional clients and subsequent candidate interviews. Helen Pitcher, chairman of the selection panel for England and Wales, stated, “We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains stubbornly low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, 52% were successful”. The number of applications from people with black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds rose to 14%, but their success rate was below average.
These statistics correlate to the fears of the lack of female barristers and barristers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to choose to promote to the bench, thus limiting the diversity of the senior judiciary. This round’s appointments notably include Justine Thornton (an environmental law specialist, visiting professor at UCL and also wife of former Labour leader Ed Miliband) and Joshua Rozenberg (presenter of the BBC’s ‘Law in Action’ programme, writer for ‘The Guardian’ and honorary bencher of Gray’s Inn) who was appointed as an honorary QC.