Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Monson: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, made a powerful and, I suggest, overwhelming case for these amendments. While there is no problem with Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 3, I wonder whether there might be a drafting error in Amendment No. 4, which is rather less important than the other three. Should not the word "and" appear after the word "recommendation"?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I am aware of the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, about this issue. It is clear that the noble Lord is seeking to

10 Feb 2004 : Column 1048

build in safeguards in relation to senior judicial appointments to minimise his concerns about the possible scope for political influence.

Perhaps I may say at the outset that throughout our examination of the Bill we have sought to ensure that the independence of the judiciary is upheld. The noble Lord referred to what would be relevant in England and Wales. I should say to him that there are common principles relevant to all three jurisdictions of the United Kingdom—Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England and Wales. These are the ideals of enduring judicial independence, transparency, accountability and high public confidence in the judiciary.

However, the fact that there are three jurisdictions means that certain differences in approach will be taken at the operational level. In practice these differences are right, proper and necessary to reflect the differences between the jurisdictions. Moreover, one point that has been made abundantly clear in our discussions about the Bill is that there are particularities in Northern Ireland which we need to take into account. So I am sorry that the noble Lord is not convinced that the procedure on devolution for senior judicial appointments is sufficiently robust.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 seek to provide for statutory consultation with the Lord Chancellor when making senior judicial appointments. The Prime Minister will make a recommendation to Her Majesty after considering the recommendation of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Lord Chief Justice will be consulted, as provided for in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002. His views will be made known to the Prime Minister. Further, there is nothing to stop the Prime Minister or the First Minister and Deputy First Minister consulting the Lord Chancellor.

However, I must remind noble Lords that we are discussing senior judicial appointments in a post-devolution criminal justice environment when the Lord Chief Justice will be head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland, not the Lord Chancellor. I would therefore propose that it is not necessary to provide for statutory consultation with the Lord Chancellor.

Amendment No. 2 seeks to specify that when making senior judicial appointments, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister will supply a list of at least three names to the Prime Minister. The clause as it stands gives the Prime Minister flexibility over the number of names he might require from the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. Of course the Prime Minister might ask for three names, or he might ask for fewer than three. The Prime Minister can decide in each case. We believe that this flexibility is important and should be maintained.

The effect of Amendment No. 4 would be that the Judicial Appointments Commission, as well as advising the First and Deputy First Ministers on the procedure to adopt when making senior judicial appointments, would also advise on the substance of the recommendations. Recommendation 85 of the Criminal Justice Review states:

10 Feb 2004 : Column 1049


    "The First Minister and Deputy First Minister should consult with the Judicial Appointments Commission over the procedure to be adopted in appointments to the positions of Lord Chief Justice and Lords Justices of Appeal".

The review did not recommend that the commission should provide advice on the substance of recommendations to the Prime Minister. This would give the commission a role in individual appointments to senior judicial offices which was never intended. They are currently required to advise the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on a general process to be used for making recommendations about senior appointments.

I said at the beginning that what we have put in place is robust. Of course we wish to maintain the independence of the judiciary. This is not about political influence or interference. The review was very clear with respect to the Judicial Appointments Commission's direct involvement in appointments. It should cease at the level of the High Court judge. I hope that in the light of this explanation the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the Lord President. I hear what she says in relation to my Amendment No. 1 on devolution. I am afraid that her arguments on Amendment No. 2 are not acceptable. As a member of the Northern Ireland community, as a Member of your Lordships' House and in my role at the Dispatch Box, I find it quite incongruous that Northern Ireland's judicial system should be downgraded and politicised to the extent that it has been by this Government. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 2:


    Page 3, line 8, at end insert—


"( ) Any specification by the Prime Minister under subsection (3)(a) in relation to recommendations from the First and Deputy First Minister must specify that the recommendation shall contain no fewer than three candidates."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I wish to test the opinion of the House. I beg to move.

3.32 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 106; Not-Contents, 156.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Ackner, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Blaker, L.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cockfield, L.
Cooke of Islandreagh, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Crickhowell, L.
Cuckney, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Deedes, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Fitt, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laird, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Patten, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reay, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rogan, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Warnock, B.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Boothroyd, B.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carey of Clifton, L.
Carter, L.
Chan, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Condon, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fearn, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Gavron, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jones, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Triesman, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

10 Feb 2004 : Column 1051

3.45 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 not moved.]

Clause 5 [Duty of Director of Public Prosecutions to refer certain matters to Police Ombudsman]:


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page