Judicial Appointments: follow-up Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.In March 2012, we published a report on Judicial Appointments.1 It examined who should be responsible for the appointment of judges in England and Wales and Justices of the Supreme Court; and what should be the substantive criteria governing those appointments. It set out concerns about the lack of diversity on the bench and made a number of recommendations to improve the judicial appointments process.

2.Five years on, we have conducted a short follow-up inquiry to examine the progress that has been made. We were pleased to note that a number of our recommendations had been implemented, primarily through the Crime and Courts Act 2013,2 including:

These changes are discussed further in Chapter 4.

3.During this follow-up inquiry attention was drawn to a fresh problem of recruitment to the judiciary arising from diminished morale among serving judges and, for potential applicants, the reduced attractiveness of a judicial appointment. In particular, we heard alarming evidence that insufficient candidates of the requisite quality have been applying for appointment to the High Court. The issue of diversity on the judicial bench was addressed in our report in 2012, but remains a problem. This follow-up inquiry focused on these areas of concern.

4.As part of this short follow-up inquiry we held evidence sessions with the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a solicitor who had applied for judicial office, Anna Nice. We also took evidence on these issues from the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, and the President and Deputy President of Supreme Court as part of our annual evidence sessions.7 We are very grateful for their contributions to our work.

1 Constitution Committee, Judicial Appointments (25th Report, Session 2010–12, HL Paper 272)

2 Judicial Appointments Commission,’ Changes under the Crime and Courts Act 2013 start to take effect’, 30 October 2013: https://jac.judiciary.gov.uk/news/changes-under-crime-and-courts-act-2013-start-take-effect [accessed 26 October 2017]

3 Constitution Committee, Judicial Appointments, para 34

4 Ibid., para 111

5 Ibid., para 180

6 Ibid., para 101

7 The annual evidence sessions were held in March 2017. Since that time, the holders of all four of those offices have changed.

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