The Role Of The Commissioner For Judicial Appointments

1186 words - 5 pages

The Role of the Commissioner for Judicial Appointments

The commission was set up originally after Sir Leonard Peach was
ordered to provide a report into how the proceedings of appointments
for the judiciary and the Queen’s Counsel was made. The main aim of
the report was to evaluate the procedures into how judicial and
Queen’s counsel appointments are made. In particular the effectiveness
of the criteria given and the procedures for the selection of the best
candidates, the safeguards against discrimination against race or
gender and the way in which candidates are assessed with regards to
the criteria.

Lord Irvine the current Lord Chancellor before appointment into office
had strongly criticised the so-called secretive and outdated system
and had called for an independent appointments commission. Now that he
has been appointed into his current position, the independent
commission for judicial appointments set up does not actually appoints
the judiciary but instead monitors the Lord Chancellor’s team that
does. In a damning report, it was found that the appointments system
was said to be slow, unsystematic and unprofessional. It also found
that a number of senior judges and leaders of the legal profession did
not provide detailed reasons for their assessments, which was a
requirement. It has been suggested the current system is still
producing a white male dominated judiciary due to the lack of
transparency.

The goal of the commission set up after Sir Leonard’s report is to
investigate complaints and review the appointments process, and does
not have any role in the appointment of the judiciary or the Queen’s
Counsel. None of the commissioners appointed are practising lawyers
therefore ensuring total independence and bias from the subject
matter. The commission can only examine and report the finding
concerned and is not an appeal body.

The commissioners may investigate any complaints that have arisen from
the application of the appointment’s procedures. In doing so the
commissioner would investigate into whether the complainant’s
application was treated fairly, this would include whether information
gathered and decisions made had complied with the policy stated and
whether the applicant was evaluated against the stated criteria for
the appointment concerned.

The commissioners will only accept complaints that are relevant to
appointments within the judiciary and the Queen’s Counsel, to
competitions after the commission was established and finally if the
complainant has already received feedback from the Lord Chancellor’s
department on the application concerned. Once the complaint has been
accepted will normally refer it to the director general of the
judicial group. Papers regarding the complainant’s application will be
sought after, which would include the...

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