Unfairly judged: gay lawyers say judiciary still plagued by homophobia

Recent research shows 70% believe there is prejudice within the selection process for judicial appointments

Writing in the Guardian, Alex Aldridge says that until 1991, unmarried men and women – including gay and lesbian lawyers – were excluded from entering the judiciary. Unsurprisingly, homophobia, or at least a strong perception of it, still lingers. According to recent research by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal group Interlaw, 70% of LGBT lawyers believe there is prejudice within the selection process for judicial office.

The judicial appointments committee (JAC) – the body founded in 2006 to enhance judicial accountability – is keen to remedy this. Last month, it began monitoring the sexuality of wannabe judges (it already monitors gender, ethnicity, age, professional background and disability). The JAC is also increasing its engagement with the gay lawyer community through talks at LGBT legal events and the publishing of case studies of gay judges.

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