"Men are three times more likely than women to be appointed to judicial office in Scotland", began one newspaper account of the statistics to emerge from the Judicial Appointment Board for Scotland's annual report, published this week.

That is true only to the extent that of 57 appointments to the Court of Session and shrieval bench during the period covered by the report, 43 were men and 14 women.

It certainly does not mean that a male applicant is three times more likely to be successful: since a total of 275 out of 354 applicants were male and 79 female, the success rate for the women at 17.7% was actually slightly higher than that for the men at 15.6%.

Not that the various figures bear out the view from either side of the gender divide, as a matter of statistics at least, reported by the Board from its recent survey of the profession (click here for Journal article) that male applicants see being female as an advantage, and vice versa.

Hopefully it will not be too long before enough women feel sufficiently confident to apply that the appointment figures will even out. But the death of warped interpretations of the statistics is already overdue and we should try and kill them off pronto.