§ 39. Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what information he has on the number of persons qualifying as (a) solicitors and (b) barristers in each of the last three years.
Mr. John M. Taylor
The information that the hon. Gentleman requires is collected by the independent professional bodies themselves. I understand from the Law Society that, in 1990, 3,389 solicitors were admitted to the roll, 4,614 were admitted in 1991 and 4,775 in 1992. I understand that, in 1989–90, 1,200 barristers were called, in 1990–91, 1,157; and in 1991–92, 1,340.
§ Mr. Jones
I thank the hon. Gentleman for the detail of his reply. Does he agree far more women barristers and solicitors are needed so that, before too long, we have a sufficient number of judges who are of the female sex? Does he accept that far too many of our judges are way off beam and far too insensitive when dealing with cases that relate to sex crimes? Will he admit that his Department —indeed, the Government—must do more so that we might have a better show? There is a need for him and his Department to do better.
If the hon. Gentleman would re-read his question, he would see that there was no other way that I could answer it. He might take comfort from the fact that the most recent figures show that, in 1992, 49 per cent. of all those admitted to the roll as solicitors were women and that 13 per cent. were from ethnic minorities. Out of a total of 1,340 barristers called in 1991–92, 41 per cent. were women. The hon. Gentleman must regard that as encouraging.