The present system for appeals works. The arguments in principle in favour of and against change are finely balanced. The final justification for the proposed changes will rest on the relationship between the benefits to be gained and the cost in financial and other terms.
The Consultation Paper proposes that there be little change in the jurisdiction of the final court of appeal. There are, however, complex issues relating to Scottish appeals and to cases arising under the devolution Acts.
The bill will need to make clear provision for the arrangements relating to representation of the various parts of the United Kingdom. It will need to set out clearly the principles under which members of the new court are appointed.
The Government proposes a special Appointments Commission to recommend candidates to the Prime Minister for nomination as members of the new court. The Government has left vague the staffing arrangements for such a commission. This is a serious omission: it leaves unclear the question of continuity of practice which makes more difficult the development of recruitment policy and does not explain how each jurisdiction might have a role to play in recruitment.