The Justice Department have released a report today calling for more diversity in the judiciary. Standard fare as Labour slide out of the multi-cultural driving seat and do their best to lock any future government into their ideology.
The move towards a European Civil Law regime is recognised by a call for a fundamental shift of focus towards the concept of a judicial career, as opposed to a career in law which may result in a judicial role. On the continent, judges are trained separately from lawyers, and go straight into a career path as a judge – so a not unexpected call.
The call for diversity of gender and ethnic mix is no surprise either. What did make me sit up and take notice, was the call for encouragement for supporting suitable candidates from under-represented groups.
‘Under-represented groups’ is a wide description, which they say includes those with ‘a disability’ – but they fail to elaborate further.
I am not aware of any bar to becoming a judge based on say wheelchair use, so they are obviously minded to include other disabilities. Some disabilities should be a positive bar to certain posts.
This is particularly relevant at the moment in view of a case running in America, where a law student who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is suing the Law School Admissions Council under the Disabilities Act for failing to allow him double time to sit his law exams. If his suit is successful, you will have lawyers who cannot pay attention eventually turning into judges who cannot pay attention.
A judge who is unable to pay attention is as alarming as a Air Traffic Controller who is unable to pay attention, and being barred from office on those grounds is no more discriminatory than my being barred from being the British Olympic competitor in the 800 metres sprint would be.
If a fireman loses a leg, I have unending compassion for him, especially if he had lost it in the course of his job, but if I find myself on the top floor of a blazing house, I want an agile and nimble fireman to zip up a ladder and haul me out – not someone I have unending compassion for. Ditto goes for a policeman in a wheelchair, or a pilot who has lost his sight.
In other words, there are some jobs that are larger than the rights of the individual who wishes to hold them.