Judicial appointments: Ministers should decide on recommendations not participate in process

The Lord Chancellor should keep out of the process of judicial appointment until names are advanced by the Judicial Appointments Commission, JUSTICE said today in its response to a Ministry of Justice consultation.

The consultation proposes that, for a number of senior judicial appointments, the Lord Chancellor should be part of the appointment process. This would be to overturn the division of responsibilities established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Roger Smith, JUSTICE’s director said: “There has to be an appropriate and transparent division of responsibilities. The Judicial Appointments Commission should decide on a list of no more than three names of those who are suitable for appointment with an indication of who they prefer. At that point, the Lord Chancellor should choose. That gives the minister a genuine role and keeps a clear line between different responsibilities.

Read JUSTICE’s response below. The Ministry of Justice issued its consultation paper Appointments and Diversity: a judiciary for the 21st century on 21 November.

Ministry of Justice consultation