The Labour party has stated its commitment to a more diverse legal profession, criticising past governments for their lack of commitment to the cause.
Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter, speaking at the CILEx graduation ceremony, said: “Successive governments have been very poor at opening up the legal profession for all, irrespective of background, education or advantage.”
He added that of all the European nations, just two, Armenia and Azerbaijan, had fewer female judges than England and Wales.
Slaughter also said that he believed that many CILEx members would become judges and heads of law firms, adding: “Speaking for my party, we are committed to make that sea-change happen.”
The first day of the graduation ceremony saw 119 CILEx graduates reach the final academic stage of the qualification pathway, which is equivalent to degree level. Another 33 were formally admitted as practising lawyers.
Lawyer 2B reported last month that CILEx, which allows members to practice as a lawyer without an undergraduate degree or training contract, had experienced a 46 per cent rise in enrolments in the last year (28 March 2013).
The current government has promoted apprenticeships heavily as a means of increasing diversity in the profession, with skills minister Matthew Hancock declaring himself “especially excited” by BPP Law School’s apprenticeship plans.