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Only 30% of judges are women in England and Wales

Published 06/10/2016

Justice Secretary Liz Truss has pledged to open up the justice system
Justice Secretary Liz Truss has pledged to open up the justice system

The UK has one of the lowest proportions of female professional judges in Europe, a report suggests.

In England and Wales 30% of judges were women, while the figure was 23% for both Northern Ireland and Scotland, according to data cited in a study from the Council of Europe.

The only country featured in the report with a lower percentage was Azerbaijan (11%), while the proportion for Armenia was given as 23%.

The Europe-wide average for female judges was 51%, according to the research, which was based on figures from 2014.

Data on some countries was not available.

It comes days after Justice Secretary Liz Truss pledged to "open up the justice system".

She told the Tory party conference: "Currently only one in seven QCs and one in three partners in law firms are women.

"Fewer than one in ten judges come from ethnic minorities and only a quarter went to state school.

"This is modern global Britain - we can do better than that."

The figures on gender in the Council of Europe report relate specifically to professional judges.

Separate data published earlier this year showed that 53% of magistrates in England and Wales are women. Figures also show that the percentage of female judges in courts has been rising.

A spokesman for the judiciary said: "The judiciary is committed to improving diversity and is assuring lawyers from all backgrounds that a judicial appointment is open to them. Support includes work shadowing, mentoring and networking events.

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