Judges are seeking an investigation into the”discriminatory, unjust and criminal” judicial appointment system amid claims of bullying and racism, The Times reports.

The Judicial Support Network (JSN), which promotes diversity on the bench, is sending a petition today to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to detail”serious, serial and systemic” failings in the appointments procedure.

The criticism, which conducts to 44 pages, is encouraged by the GMB marriage and a number of minority lawyers’ groups.

The JAC was created in 2006 to bring an end to this”tap on the shoulder” system in place and also to increase transparency in the appointment of judges. Campaigners argue, however, that the old boys’ network is”alive, well and flourishing”.

The petition sent by the JSN alleges that the appointment process is”tainted by an extensive and formalised process of secret soundings” that puts women and cultural minorities at a disadvantage.

It claims too that covert reports are”routinely sought” out of judges.

“That is wider than just supplying a cover to its actively racist, sexist or other bigoted individual,” says the network’s record.

“It is a devil’s pact to permit all kinds of prejudice and grudge fulfilment, all arguably to maintain the ideal judicial profile as practically as possible: white, privately educated, Oxbridge, male, using low demonstrable emotional intelligence.”

Kaly Kaul QC, a Crown Court judge and creator of JSN, said:”We are not against the JAC; we’re critical friends.”

She added:”We hope the referral will likely be welcomed by the senior judiciary and the JAC, who’ll be eager to allay worries and enable reforms as required.”

A spokeswoman for the appointments commission said the JAC’s processes are”frequently independently assessed and also have been proven to be honest, objective and consistent with best practice”.

A spokeswoman for the judiciary commented:”Any event of bullying, discrimination or harassment is an issue of critical concern particularly to the elderly judiciary, who’ve said they’ll be certain they investigate any allegation thoroughly.”