§ Vera Baird
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the Lord Chancellor's joint working party on the appointment of QCs and judges will next meet. 
§ Mr. Leslie
It is planned to reconvene the Joint Working Party on Equal Opportunities in Judicial Appointments and Silk in the next couple of months to discuss the outcome of last year's consultation paper on the future of judicial appointments and issues concerning diversity in the judiciary.
§ Mr. Stinchcombe
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of(a) magistrates and (b) judges are from an ethnic minority group. 1671W
§ Mr. Leslie
There are 24,419 magistrates in England and Wales excluding the Duchy of Lancaster (where the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for appointments). There are 3,925 magistrates in the Duchy of Lancaster bringing the overall total of magistrates to 28,344. In England and Wales (excluding the Duchy) 1,490 magistrates declare themselves to be from a black and ethnic minority (BME) group, which is 6.1 per cent. In the Duchy of Lancaster there are 219 magistrates from BME groups, which is 5.6 per cent. Therefore the overall total of magistrates from a BME group is 1,709 which is 6 per cent. As at 1 January 2004, of 3,613 judicial officers in England and Wales (excluding tribunals), 130 declared themselves to be of minority ethnic origin. This represents 3.6 per cent. of the total. The following table gives a breakdown of judges in post for the main judicial offices, who have declared themselves to be of minority ethnic origin.