chapter  9
15 Pages

Judicial diversity and mandatory retirement

Obstacle or route to diversity?
ByAlysia Blackham

A diverse judiciary is essential for a democratic society. While considerable attention has been paid to how judicial diversity can be promoted, most debate has been focused on judicial appointment processes, and the role of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) in securing change. In recent decades, mandatory retirement ages have become a key mechanism for securing predictable turnover in the UK judiciary. The lack of academic discussion on retirement ages for the judiciary stands in stark contrast to the weight of scholarship on retirement ages in relation to other professions and areas of work. Judicial retirement ages were first introduced by the Judicial Pensions Act 1959, which imposed a retirement age of 75 for those appointed to the High Court and above. When considering the link between judicial diversity and retirement ages, it is also important to take judicial pension arrangements into account, as pensions may strongly influence judicial retirement behaviour.