Lawyers criticise Coalition Government’s ‘all White’ Bill of Rights Commission
The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) has issued a stinging attack on the composition of the coalition government’s Bill of Rights Commission.
Launched today by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke, the independent commission will investigate the case for a UK Bill of Rights and is to be chaired by the former Permanent Secretary, Sir Leigh Lewis.
SBL Chair, Peter Herbert OBE commented:
“The lack of diversity in terms of the composition of the Commission is appalling. All nine members of the Commission are white and only one woman, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, has made the cut. Apart from the chair, all of the commissioners are drawn from one side of the legal profession – the Bar.
“This is a one-dimensional commission that fails to reflect the contributions and expertise that exists within the UK’s ethnic minority communities, amongst women’s organisations, disability groups and indeed the civil society sector in general.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Coalition Government’s failure to ensure that equality and diversity is embedded in this important initiative from the outset and we are therefore calling on the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Justice to take immediate steps to rectify this glaring omission.”
SBL has now written to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Justice, requesting a response to their concerns.