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Lammy disappointed as BAME judicial targets rejected

DISAPPOINTED: Tottenham MP David Lammy

TOTTENHAM MP David Lammy has expressed disappointment at the government’s apparent failure to recommendations he laid out in a recent report on racial disparity in the criminal justice system.

Lammy published his independent review into the treatment of – and outcomes for – black and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system in September last year.

The report included a number of key recommendations, including delaying or dropping some prosecutions and a national target to increase diversity in the judiciary by 2025.

However the government has refused to commit to setting a target go increase diversity in the judiciary despite the fact that just 7 per cent currently come from a minority background.

BAME people also make up only 11 per cent of magistrates.
Justice secretary David Lidington outlined steps to tackle "race bias" in the legal system in England and Wales.

However he said that the government needed to "look at the critical path" into the law - rather than set targets.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme in December Liddington said that targets would be "the wrong way to attack this particular objective" of achieving diversity and that he was looking at alternatives.

He said: "When you look at the judges, you have got a group of people who have been practising in law perhaps for 20 years... because we need people who are experienced, who are expert, to sit on the bench. In getting a more diverse judiciary... you need to look at the critical path of how do people get into the legal profession in the first place."

However Lammy said he was ‘disappointed’ that ministers are not pushing ahead with targets for a more diverse judiciary and instead called for a "bold approach".

He told the BBC: "It is not about the pipeline. BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) lawyers are applying to join the judiciary.

"If you set a target or a goal, then it concentrates the mind to achieve that. But the government has not affected that. The UK is behind the curve on diversity and it needs to catch up."

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