Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Appointments and Diversity: ‘A Judiciary for the 21st Century’

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On 21 November, 2011, the Lord Chancellor launched a consultation on changes to the ways in which judicial appointments are made. The consultation deals with four main issues:

1. How to achieve the proper balance between executive, judicial and independent responsibilities in the appointment of judges;

2. How to improve clarity, transparency and openness in the appointment process;

3. How to create a more diverse  judiciary that is reflective of society and appointed on merit; and

4. How to deliver speed and quality of service to applicants, the courts and tribunals and value for money to the taxpayer.

In relation to 1, the paper suggests that there should be some redrawing of the responsibilities of Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, with more decision making power going to the latter.

In relation to 2, there are proposals for opening up more of the most senior judicial positions to open competition.

In relation to 4, detailed changes to the size of the Commission and its procedures are suggested.

As regards the diversity issues, to which the Lord Chancellor seems particularly committed, a number of quite radical changes are suggested. For example, while part-time working is possible for the lower judiciary, this is not currently an option for judges in the High Court and above; the paper asks whether this should change.  Another question asks whether the JAC should be able to apply the Equality Act 2010’s positive action provisions when two candidates are essentially indistinguishable.

The consultation ends in February 2012.

The paper is at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/consultations/judicial-appointments-consultation-1911.pdf

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Written by lwtmp

November 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Chapter 4, Chapter 9

One Response

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  1. For those interested, I have covered all the Lords Constitution Committee hearings into judicial appointments/diversity over the last year here: http://alrich.wordpress.com/
    Among them was Ken Clarke’s appearance when he defended his proposals for a greater government role in judicial appointments: http://wp.me/pfo1I-90
    My own concerns are expressed here: “Ken Clarke’s piratical band” http://wp.me/pfo1I-8j

    alrich

    May 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm


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