In recent years, increased judicial diversity has been widely discussed in England and Wales. As of 2006, a Judicial Appointments Commission was established with the objective of increasing diversity in the judicial application process (Malleson, 2022). However, the relevance of judicial diversity has also been debated, with some saying that it is irrelevant. However, judges have significant constitutional and societal authority to make important judgments. This essay argues that diversity is important for the courts and plays a key role in promoting equality in decision-making.
Diversity in the UK Supreme Court Today
Diversity is the belief that each person is unique and has a function in society (Hunt, Layton, and Prince, 2015). A person’s worldview, viewpoint, and attitude are shaped by their distinctions. Diversity is about recognizing, understanding and appreciating distinctions caused by factors such as race, gender, culture, religion (Hunt, Layton, and Prince, 2015). The UK Supreme Court Justices have the ability to make final decisions and judgments with respect to debatable matters of law of wide public interest arising from civil and criminal proceedings in the UK (The Supreme Court, n.d.). They also consider matters involving devolved governments, parliaments, and assemblies (The Supreme Court, n.d.).
The Supreme Court justices make decisions when the law is vague, ambiguous, or contradictory (Malleson, 2022). Almost every case considered by the UK Supreme Court is one where no clear legal rule governs the conclusion. The Court’s very modest docket is dominated by cases involving “difficult problems of principle.” In other circumstances, the Justices’ options are confined to narrow or technical legal concerns, even though they are significant within a particular legal sector. These challenging cases force the Justices to select between legally viable opposing arguments based on their personal convictions, either explicitly or indirectly. A deeper level of principle usually then steers the approach taken. This is where diversity comes in. Individual variations among the Justices may directly affect the outcome of a case.
There is a major deficit of diversity on the current Supreme Court. The court has 10 justices since Lord Lloyd-Jones retired on January 13, 2022, while Lady Arden of Heswall retired on January 24, 2022, leaving two vacancies (The Supreme Court, 2022). Only one of the ten is female (Lady Rose of Colmworth), and none is BAME (BAME is an umbrella word used in the UK to designate non-white races.) This composition issue points to a difficulty with diversity influencing selection of justices.
Sections 25 to 31 and Schedule 8 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, as modified by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, regulate the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. (Supreme Court, n.d.). The selecting process is multi-step. When a vacancy among the Justices opens, an impartial selection committee is formed. The group includes the President of the Supreme Court, a senior UK judge who is not a Supreme Court Justice, and representatives from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Selection commissions have traditionally posted job positions and invited written responses, even though it is not required by law. Candidates for justice appointments must have held a high judicial office for two years, or have met the judicial appointment eligibility condition for 15 years, or be a qualified practitioner for 15 years, according to Section 25 of the 2005 Act (The Supreme Court, n.d.).
The process of deliberations begins with the selection committee contacting top politicians and judges throughout the UK before shortlisting applicants based on merit (The Supreme Court, n.d.). A report is sent to the Lord Chancellor for evaluation once the shortlisted candidates have been interviewed. The Lord Chancellor has the power to accept, deny, or urge the commission to review its decision. The Prime Minister sends a proposition to the Queen as immediately the Lord Chancellor approves it. The Prime Minister’s office announces after official approval by Her Majesty (The Supreme Court, n.d.).
The Supreme Court selection procedure, as described above, is highly influences by individual judges and politicians. Their attitude on diversity in the judiciary influences who is shortlisted and chosen for these jobs. Leaving this procedure up to the judges and politicians opens a gap that may generate a negative bias towards achieving Supreme Court justice diversity. Amending the selection process to include a specific law or statutory requirement requiring that a percentage of the Supreme Court justices be women and also include justices from the BAME communities would be effective in ensuring more diversity.
The Impact of Diversity on How Decisions Are Reached
It is vital to recognize the value of a diverse supreme court. First, a diverse court helps underrepresented populations trust the legal system. According to a 2010 study by Scherer and Curry, having more Black judges on the bench improved Black Americans’ perceptions of the courts’ trustworthiness. The Supreme Court’s job is to deliver justice fairly and evenly. It is impossible for the public to trust the court if the communities it is meant to protect are excluded from its bench composition.
On the other hand, having a proportion of female justices and judges has been found to symbolize diversity. This is vital in the administration of justice. A paper by Rosemary Hunter attempted to explore the relevance of women judges in the judiciary and how this effects decision making. The paper found that having female judges strengthens the judiciary’s democratic legitimacy, since a female bench represents more of the society it serves than a male court (Hunter, 2015). Second, feminine justices are more likely to sympathize with female petitioners and witnesses, especially female crime victims, and so provide a smoother court atmosphere. It also protects female attorneys from sexist remarks or other forms of gender prejudice from the bench, as well as outright sexism and gender bias by those in the courtroom. Another research found that female justices are more likely than male judges to notice and resolve gender bias in the trial (Lonsway, 2002) According to this research, appointing female judges would add a gender sensitivity to decision-making and, as a result, influence case results (at least periodically).
An equally diverse court also creates a richer jurisprudence. Diversity on the bench ensures ongoing feedback from judges who have seen challenges from many perspectives. This includes the Supreme Court judges. Where individuals come from, what they’ve been through, and who they’ve spent time with all influence decisions. As an example, one recent research indicated that white federal district court judges imposed more restrictions on pretrial release than Black judges (Boldt et al., 2021). Another recent research indicated that former corporate attorneys and prosecutors, who make nearly 70% of current federal judges in the US, were more likely to rule against putative victims in employment discrimination complaints (Shepherd, 2021). According to a 2013 study by Kastellec, when a female judge or a person of color sits on an appellate court, their male or white counterparts are more likely to side with plaintiffs in civil rights cases. All the above studies show how personal experience impacts judges’ views of the law.
What Has Been Done To Tackle the Problem of Diversity in the UK Supreme Court?
Various attempts have been taken in the past to ensure judicial diversity. In 2010, the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity, for example, released 53 suggestions aimed at making the court more diverse (Neuberger, 2010). A Judicial Diversity Taskforce was in charge of the recommendations, and it issued three annual status reports (Rackley, 2012). In 2011, the House of Lords Constitution Committee looked at judicial nominations, with a particular emphasis on judicial diversity (Delaney, 2016). By law, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice must now encourage judicial diversity. Also, in a report published by the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice in 2014, one of the recommendations was to accelerate progress toward a more diverse court (Bindman and Monaghan, 2014). The Supreme Court adopted a four-year strategy in 2016 to incorporate fairness and diversity into all it does (The Supreme Court, n.d.).
Today, the UK Supreme Court acknowledges that diversity enriches the court to better serve the public and that’s why it launched the Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025 (The Supreme Court, 2021). This strategy aims to help underrepresented groups advance into judicial jobs and to provide an inclusive and courteous workplace for justices (The Supreme Court, 2021). The primary goal is to foster an inclusive and courteous culture at the Court, where all judges support and lead the strategy (The Supreme Court, 2021). The policy also intends to help underrepresented groups advance in the court. It also aims to increase the number of eligible applications from underrepresented groups to the UK Supreme Court and seeks to actively promote diversity and inclusion among lawyers and the public (The Supreme Court, 2021). Finally, it aims to guarantee that the court upholds the Equality Act 2010 in order to eradicate all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment, and victimization. The strategy also outlines how each goal will be attained by introducing an action plan with specific dates of action (The Supreme Court, 2021).
Diversity is, therefore, an important factor in Supreme Court decision-making. Research suggests that a diverse judiciary improves judicial decision-making and public trust in the Supreme Court’s legitimacy. Having a diverse bench reduces prejudice and leads to better decisions. While the present Supreme Court makeup lacks diversity, the court has been and is to expand its diversity, with the latest being the judicial diversity and inclusion agenda.
Bindman, G. and Monaghan, K., 2014. Judicial diversity: Accelerating change. Retrieved, 11, p.2017.
Boldt, E.D., Boyd, C.L., Carlos, R.F. and Baker, M.E., 2021. The Effects of Judge Race and Sex on Pretrial Detention Decisions. Justice System Journal, pp.1-39.
Delaney, E., 2016. Searching for constitutional meaning in institutional design: The debate over judicial appointments in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 14(3), pp.752-768.
Hunt, V., Layton, D. and Prince, S., 2015. Diversity matters. McKinsey & Company, 1(1), pp.15-29.
Hunter, R., 2015. More than just a different face? Judicial diversity and decision-making. Current legal problems, 68(1), pp.119-141.
Kastellec, J.P., 2013. Racial diversity and judicial influence on appellate courts. American Journal of Political Science, 57(1), pp.167-183.
Lonsway, K.A., Freeman, L.V., Cortina, L.M., Magley, V.J. and Fitzgerald, L.F., 2002. Understanding the judicial role in addressing gender bias: A view from the Eighth Circuit Federal Court System. Law & Social Inquiry, 27(2), pp.205-234.
Malleson, K., 2022. Values diversity in the United Kingdom Supreme Court: abandoning the ‘don’t‐ask‐don’t‐tell’policy. Journal of Law and Society.
Neuberger, B.J., 2010. The Report of the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity. Report for the Ministry of Justice, London.
Rackley, E., 2012. Women, judging and the judiciary: From difference to diversity. Routledge-Cavendish.
Scherer, N. and Curry, B., 2010. Does descriptive race representation enhance institutional legitimacy? The case of the US courts. The Journal of Politics, 72(1), pp.90-104.
Shepherd, J., 2021. The Relationship between Professional Diversity and Judicial Decisions. Demand Justice. Available at: https://demandjustice.org/report/ [Accessed February 15, 2022]
The Supreme Court, 2021. Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025. Supreme Court. Available at: https://www.supremecourt.uk/docs/uksc-judicial-diversity-and-inclusion-strategy.pdf [Accessed February 16, 2022].
The Supreme Court, 2022. Biographies of the justices. Biographies of the Justices – The Supreme Court. Available at: https://www.supremecourt.uk/about/biographies-of-the-justices.html [Accessed February 16, 2022].
The Supreme Court, n.d.. Appointments of justices. Appointments of Justices – The Supreme Court. Available at: https://www.supremecourt.uk/about/appointments-of-justices.html [Accessed February 16, 2022].
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The Supreme Court, n.d.. Role of the Supreme Court. Role of The Supreme Court – The Supreme Court. Available at: https://www.supremecourt.uk/about/role-of-the-supreme-court.html.
The Link Of Social Standing To Health, Family Life, Politics And Values Sample Paper
Social standing refers to an individual’s social class or status in society. It entails grouping people in a stratified hierarchy based on income, occupation, wealth, social network, and education (Simandan, 2018). Typically, people with high social standing status belong to the upper class. Thus, they quickly access quality healthcare and prestigious schools. Besides, their political participation is substantial because they greatly influence the community’s politics. Those in the low social standing category often have limited access to essential resources because of their low income. The majority of the lower class struggle to get primary education or even a balanced diet. Therefore, it is true that a person’s social standing has a significant impact on their health, family life, values, and political power.
Indeed, social standing strongly determines a person’s health status and life expectancy as it impacts their ability to receive balanced nutrition and adequate medical care. The social health determinants are environmental, including risk factors found in an individual’s working and living conditions. These determinants include wealth and income distribution, and they help predict one’s risk of contracting illnesses, vulnerability, and injury sustainment (Simandan, 2018). For instance, people in lower social standing have poor physical and mental health because they have less insurance cover and limited access to quality health care than people in a higher class. Besides, poor neighborhoods and high poverty status among low-class individuals experience more chronic health issues like pressure and heart diseases.
Subsequently, family life, including the composition of household, marriage, stability of a home, and childbearing, are impacted by social standing. For instance, in America, the probability of initial marriage ending is significantly high for couples in a lower class than those in upper or middle status. The high rate of divorces is linked to financial stress and harsh living conditions that they experience. In addition, a person’s situation has both a cause and an effect relationship with family composition. Low class is often correlated with single-parent households. In comparison, home stability amongst those in upper social standing is good because they can get the resources they need, thus less struggle.
At the same time, the higher a person’s social standing, the higher their political participation and influence level. Political participation tells whether or not an individual engages in voting, campaign donation, or attending vital public forums like council meetings. Those with good education and wealth have a higher voting probability than people with low social standing (Kraus et al., 2015). The upper social class also frequently gives campaign donations to politicians to push their agenda. Moreover, higher-status people often hold political positions, unlike those with low status. The political identity of wealthy people is excellent, and so is their influence in various political issues and forums.
Furthermore, a person’s values are linked to their social standing. Values that people get are often earned through educational attainment. People from high social status are more likely to gain quality education through easy access to prestigious private schools, modern libraries, and qualified teachers. Due to the quality education, high-class people have a high probability of landing good jobs and high salaries. A combination of quality education, prestigious employment, and a significant wage, increases one’s values within society. Contrastingly, the crime levels tend to be high amongst those in the low class because they do not hold strong values due to limited educational attainment.
Conclusively, society establishes hierarchy from low to high based on power, wealth, behavior, and income. The existence of differences among those factors determines a person’s social standing. The gap between the upper and lower social standing groups directly links access to health, politics, family life, and values. People with more resources represent the upper layer, and they got values, substantial political influence, and good family life, unlike the low-status groups.
Kraus, M., Anderson, C., & Callaghan, B. (2015). The Inequality of Politics: Social Class and Political Participation”. Available at SSRN 2600107. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2600107
Simandan, D. (2018). Rethinking the Health Consequences of Social Class and Social Mobility. Social Sciences & Medicine, vol. 200, pp. 258-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.037
The Man Next Door Movie University Essay Example
The movie, “The Man Next Door” is an Argentinian film directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn and released in 2009. The movie features an interaction of two neighbors; Victor and Leonard, who belong to entirely different social field. The movie recreates this old idea of curious indiscretion between people. From this fact, it manages to reflect a society that, divided by social and cultural walls, is afraid to look at the other and differentiate the true values of the human being (MUBI, 2010). It won an award for best photography at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the award for best Argentine film at the 2009 Mar de Plata Film Festival.
With the deafening sound of hammer blows breaking a wall, two simultaneous images are surprising, dividing the screen into two opposite faces that show the opening of a hole in the wall. In this way, the directors, from the first scene of the film, install in the spectators a story with two antagonistic views of the same neighborhood community.
Víctor, one of the protagonists of the film, tries to make a window in the dividing wall that he shares with his neighbor Leonardo, the other protagonist. From this fact, as simple as it is provocative, the harmony of coexistence between neighbors is put into play and the conflict arises (Film Affinity, 2021). That window becomes a symbolic object of interference and intimidation of Leonardo and his family, made up of his wife and daughter.
The plot of the film takes place in an upper middle class neighborhood with the interaction of two neighbors who supposedly belong to the same social class. Leonardo is an architect, a successful university professor, he designs furniture specifically chairs, he speaks several languages, he belongs to a high social class, he communicates with the outside world, both socially and professionally, through modern technological tools, his professional image is carefully detailed on a web page extensively studied through television interviews. He clearly represents a sophisticated, bourgeois intellectual who brags about his actions and is very sure of his social position (Film Affinity, 2021). Not coincidentally, he lives with his family in an emblematic property in the city of La Plata: the Curutchet house. The house is visited daily by architecture students, passers-by and tourists, that is to say that Leonardo coexists with the daily exposure of the house to strangers, curious people, etc. This is how Leonardo himself is seen, on several occasions, enjoying these visits with touches of good humor, as long as everything is under control.
In contrast, Victor is flat, direct, emotional, spontaneous and authentic. The only property he shows is his black truck, his interior featuring exaggerated, kitsch decor. It is not known what he works for and lives with his uncle who is differently abled. He shows a vulgar vocabulary and a somewhat grotesque behavior, he is unprejudiced, overwhelming, sure of himself, but compared to Leonardo, Victor appears as a less educated character belonging to a lower social class.
Thus, the characterized characters represent different social worlds, which vary according to their position and it would be natural to infer that both manifest different “habitus” in that the social practices, unconsciously incorporated throughout the stories of each character, manifest differences in the perception, actions and thought, this is a product of the internalization of social structures (MUBI, 2010). Thus, through the “habitus”, we have a world of common sense, a social world that seems evident and allows us to identify Victor with less social, cultural and symbolic capital compared to Leonardo’s accumulated capital. If we establish as symbolic capital that which has been acquired by the recognition of the social and institutional environment, for example, in this case the university degree that Leonardo possesses gives him prestige and social recognition. The academic titles represent true symbolic property titles that give the right to advantages of recognition, officially establish and guarantee known and universally recognized ranks.
The Bourdian capital we are talking about is a capital of worldly relationships that is evident between Victor and Leonardo from their positions in the social field. Both bid to obtain a differential return on symbolic capital (force exerted by the protagonists to value what is at stake in that field), with strategies that respond to the lifestyle, which in each one works with different amounts, so to say it, of legitimized capital, in the hegemony, of the social environment. A power struggle is established that is not perceived as such but as a demand for recognition, obedience, between one character and another.
By focusing on the characters, Victor (the other) responds to a totally different lifestyle than Leonardo. The difference between the social positions to which Victor and Leonardo belong is based on the accumulation and distribution of the specific capital that is at stake in that field.
It is important to keep in mind that the focus of the camera is almost always on Leonardo and his surroundings, so the dynamics of the film develop from the visualization of the problem that Leonardo must solve. Víctor initiates the aforementioned problem by opening the window to “catch a few rays of sunshine”, furthermore, he does not see it as a source of conflict, because Leonardo’s house is, on the one hand, publicly visited daily due to its importance; architectural and, on the other hand, it has large windows that allow a view from the many other windows of the building opposite (Guerini, 2018). From there, processes are initiated that, due to their development and the methodologies used to manage them, lead to results that can deepen the crisis and/or generate changes in the relationship between neighbors that hinder a consensus.
It is Víctor who seeks dialogue, although he justifies his action based on grounds far removed from rationality, this is a way of acting without thinking, without even contemplating the law, he is only motivated by the personal and domestic need to have light, and from the Common sense takes your neighbor’s acceptance for granted. But, it is in this character that one glimpses a communicative rationality, because Víctor goes in search of a linguistic understanding, assuming without knowing it that they share the same code between the two, convinced that it will be possible reach an agreement.
Although language has a central role in the search for consensus as a way of resolving conflicts, it is necessary that rational individuals, who initiate a joint action of dialogue. For this same reason, it is impossible to resolve this conflict that is transformed throughout the film into an ethical dilemma in the minds of the viewers. The directors show the behavioral aspects of the protagonists, putting the public in the dilemma of taking a position between one or the other of the characters.
The outcome of the film clearly shows who is who in the decision-making process in the face of a tragic event: the robbery. Víctor shows a positive attitude towards the situation when he foils the robbery that is committed at his neighbor’s house. It is in this action that he is fatally wounded, a situation that Leonardo takes advantage of, who was never interested in Víctor as a person, to precipitate the resolution of the conflict, leaving him to die (Guerini, 2018). However, Victor acts out of duty by confronting the thieves at his neighbor’s house. According to Kant, it is a morally good act because one proceeds according to duty without any inclination, that is, in Victor’s moral conscience there is a categorical imperative (he knows no conditions) that leads him to act according to the subjective principle of the act.
However, the last scene, heartbreaking as it ends with the game that has taken the spectator to the limit, who cornered has no way to escape and must take a final position of the type: whose side are you on? In this part we witness a display of moral values such as solidarity, the courage that drives Víctor to help his neighbors. It is almost impossible for the viewer not to feel identified with Victor’s heroic and selfless act, and internally repudiate Leonardo’s selfish, insensitive and inhuman attitude.
If we reflect on the antagonistic behavior of the characters in The Man Next Door, we cannot avoid making moral judgments that are inevitably associated with feelings. In this same reflective direction, where the emergence of language in human evolutionary history is born in the operational field of mutual acceptance (love) between primates, and what is truly The human being is constitutively founded with the basic participation of emotion and, in particular, of love, which results in a conversation.
Film Affinity. (2021). The man next door (2009). FilmAffinity. https://www.filmaffinity.com/us/film209972.html
GUERINI, E. (2018, August 29). “Maybe we are just mean”: Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn on the humour in their Venice title ‘My masterpiece’. Screen. https://www.screendaily.com/features/maybe-we-are-just-mean-gaston-duprat-and-mariano-cohn-on-the-humour-in-their-venice-title-my-masterpiece/5132039.article
MUBI. (2010). Beautiful, Interesting, and Incredible Cinema: The man next door. https://mubi.com/films/the-man-next-door