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Reframing the judicial diversity debate: personal values and tacit diversity

Cahill-O'callaghan, Rachel 2015. Reframing the judicial diversity debate: personal values and tacit diversity. Legal Studies 35 (1) , pp. 1-29. 10.1111/lest.12074

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It has long been argued that the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, now the UK Supreme Court, is characterised by Justices who are white and male, with a public school and Oxbridge education. Despite continuous debate and reflection on the lack of diversity, by academics, government and the popular press, little has changed. These debates have centred on explicit diversity, overt characteristics that are easily codified and reflect how the judiciary is seen. Drawing on the psychological theory of decision making, this paper argues that judicial decisions are subject to tacit influences that are not limited to overt characteristics. Personal values serve as one such tacit influence on decision making. Personal values are formed by life experiences and reflect many of the characteristics identified within the explicit diversity debates. However, personal values are influenced by more than simple demographic variables. This paper uses the example of personal values to highlight the fact that despite the lack of explicit diversity, there is an element of tacit diversity in the Supreme Court, which is reflected in judicial decisions. The impact of these findings serves to extend the debates surrounding diversity, highlighting the limitation of debates centred on explicit diversity alone.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0261-3875
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2020 14:30

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