chapter  13
24 Pages

The disruptive potential of ceiling quotas in addressing over-representation in the judiciary

ByKate Malleson

Drawing on Rainbow Murray's work on gender quotas in legislatures, this chapter argues for a shift in the conceptualization of the problem away from the under-representation of marginalized identity groups to the over-representation of dominant identity groups; most notably white male barristers from affluent backgrounds. The strikingly homogenous composition of the senior judiciary in England and Wales and the UK Supreme Court may be more extreme than is found in many other countries, but it is not unique. Rosemary Hunter has described this as the 'remedial model' in which those from diverse backgrounds 'are to be properly acculturated, assimilated, inculcated with appropriate norms of behaviour and steered in the right direction so they are able to overcome their unpropitious origins and made capable of progression'. The remedial model which focuses on the under-representation of traditionally marginalized group underlies and informs most official and academic responses to the problem of judicial diversity in the UK since the early 1990s.