Justice Secretary to set out plans to tackle race bias in courts system

Posted On: 
19th December 2017

The Government will today set out its plans to tackle "overt discrimination" against people from ethnic minorities in the justice system.

Labour MP David Lammy's report made 35 recommendations to tackle racial bias in the justice system
Credit: 
PA

It follows a landmark review published in September from Labour MP David Lammy, who found consistent racial bias across the British courts. 

Justice Secretary David Lidington has pledged to act on each of Mr Lammy's 35 recommendations, although he has rejected the idea of a national target to get more people from ethnic minorities into the judiciary. 

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"This Government is committed to exposing injustice wherever it exists. Where we cannot explain differences in outcomes for different groups, we will reform,” he said.

Ministers have already brought through measures such as publishing more data on race bias, while a new race and ethnicity board will be established to drive through reform.

But the Tottenham MP says he is "disappointed" with the Government's reluctance to bring in the target for boosting minority representation among judges. 

"More of the same will not work," he said. 

One of the schemes under consideration is for "deferred prosecutions" whereby convicts avoid a trial if they confess to their crime and agree to undertake community work, rehabilitation or pay a fine.

Former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans warned there was a risk of a "two-tier justice system" if some people are treated differently by the courts.

“I am a total believer in justice and equality and irrespective of black or white, man or women justice should be blind," he told the Sun.