Lord Reed Pushes for BAME Appointment to UK Supreme Court

The president of the Supreme Court called the lack of ethnic diversity on the UK’s top court “shameful if it persists.”

The president of the UK’s Supreme Court has called for a justice from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background to be appointed to the bench within the next few years.

Lord Reed, who succeeded Lady Hale as Supreme Court president in January, made the comments during an interview with the BBC, his first media interview since gaining the position.

When asked whether there might be a justice from a BAME background appointed to the court in the near future, Lord Reed remarked: “I hope that will be before I retire which is in six years’ time.”

Also during the interview, Lord Reed remarked on the “appalling” treatment of Alexandra Wilson, a mixed-race junior barrister who revealed in September that she was mistaken for a defendant three times in the same morning in a magistrates’ court.

“Alexandra Wilson is a very gifted young lawyer, an Oxford graduate who has won umpteen scholarships, and for her to be treated like that was extremely disappointing to say the least,” he said.

The UK judiciary has been grappling with racial diversity issues for some time. Currently, only 4% of senior judges appointed to the High Court above are from BAME backgrounds, the figure rising to 8% for lower court judges and 12% for tribunal judges. 32% of court judges and 47% of tribunal judges are female.

The Supreme Court currently comprises 12 members, ten of whom are male and all of whom are white.

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