Monday, January 28, 2008

COLOURED JUDGEMENT

LACK OF DIVERSITY IN THE JUDICIARY

This front page Guardian article shows how entrenched public Britain is today. Most positions of power are denied to ethnic minorities. This is about the judiciary and the legal profession has been widely criticised for its blatant discrimination. All this at a time when the law clearly prohibits all kinds of discrimination and makes it a public duty for public bodies like the judiciary to promote diversity.

Merit is explained as the reason for lack of diversity. But merit is rarely defined. It is used as if it were an entirely unbiased objective measure. I encourage people to go underneath the meaning of merit. Often it is behaviour, accent, social and alcohol skills, fitting in, and generally being 'polished' and obedient is what merit really means. Also, if the right opportunities are not given at the right times, how can one have the requisite experience?

The law gives employees the right to go to tribunal. I wish the judges who applied and did not succeed exercised this right and did not settle out of court. However, it will be other judges who would rule, so the system would close in on itself. The truth is that powerful people are afraid of diversity. They cannot control it or predict its direction.

It is time we saw diversity as opportunity and broke the close-knit private clubs which actually belong to the public.

1 comment:

Jez said...

Yes, this certainly does not project positive messages about ethnic minorities and other diverse characters in the English legal system. If those responsible for protecting our rights stumble at the first hurdle how can they possibly offer an effective service?

It certainly reinforces the position that not only meaningful discussion is needed on the place of minorities in the legal sytems of the UK but also direct action too.

To borrow one of Dr Shah's phrases, the legal system and the law must reflected the masala-mix of modern Britain, as surely the flavour of diversity is tasty indeed.