Reducing barriers to entry in the judiciary

Having a strong judiciary is vital for society and the rule of law. Legal scholarship and empirical research conducted by Sophie Turenne in the Faculty of Law has significantly advanced policymakers’ understanding of the topical issues in the UK.

Among these issues, the idea of a judicial career has changed over time: becoming a judge is no longer regarded as the inevitable culmination of a successful legal career. Meanwhile, issues of diversity and representativeness in the appointment and promotion of judges have become more pressing.

Turenne’s research, partly in collaboration with John Bell, has, in particular, identified key incentives and disincentives to potential applicants seeking judicial appointment. The research has had tangible and acknowledged impacts in terms of enhancing the professionalism of the judicial selection process, and in terms of achieving greater transparency and perceived fairness of outcomes.

Turenne’s wider research also has impact outside the UK. She has been involved in judicial training and empirical research on the judiciary in other countries (France, Italy) and is one of four Reporters leading the drafting of the ELI-Mount Scopus European Standards of Judicial Independence under the auspices of the European Law Institute.

“… the Report was, in effect, extremely influential in persuading the SSRB [Senior Salaries Review Body], and thence the Government, to deal with the serious questions that faced both judicial retention and recruitment…”

– Chair of the Judicial Sub-Committee, lead member for the SSRB Major Review of the Judicial Salary Structure