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More than half the candidates selected in the last recruitment round for fee-paid employment tribunal judge positions were women, statistics have shown, while three-quarters of selected candidates were solicitors. The Judicial Appointments Commission today published the statistics for the two most popular selection exercises for fee-paid roles run between April and September 2009. In total, 982 lawyers applied for 128 posts as fee-paid recorders on the South East Circuit, and 624 applied for 36 posts as fee-paid employment tribunal judges. Of those selected for fee-paid employment tribunal posts, 54% were women, while 75% were solicitors and 6% were from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background. In the recorder exercise, 37% of those selected were women, 13% were from a BME background and 11% were solicitors. JAC chair Baroness Prashar (pictured) said: ‘BME candidates have done particularly well in the recorder South East exercise, where they performed better than their numbers in the eligible pool, and I am pleased to see our first applications from ILEX (Institute of Legal Executives) fellows seeking to become employment tribunal judges.’ She said the selection process is ‘open and fair’ and the JAC selected only the most talented from those who applied. ‘Diversity and merit go together, because if the best candidates from all backgrounds apply, we can select the most able to recommend to the lord chancellor for appointment.’ Prashar said the legal profession is becoming more diverse, and the statistics showed that the judiciary is beginning to change too. She said the JAC was doing more than ever to encourage a wide range of candidates from across the legal profession, but it looked to others to help remove barriers that were beyond its control. ‘Solicitors say they want more encouragement from their firms. Women say they want more opportunities for part-time working. ‘We know there is more work to be done to encourage solicitors to apply for some posts, and we are working with the Law Society and others to make that happen,’ she added.