Committee Launches Judicial Appointments Process Inquiry

13 May 2011

The House of Lords Constitution Committee today invited contributions to its new inquiry into the judicial appointments process for the UK's new Supreme Court as well as for the courts and tribunals of England and Wales.

The judicial appointments process has seen great change over recent years. The Supreme Court and Judicial Appointments Commission were set up, and the judiciary’s role increased, notably because of the impact of the Human Rights Act. Decisions made by individual judges now regularly provoke political and public debate and public confidence in the legal system has been tested.

The Committee will ask whether the appointments system is fair, independent, transparent and open.

It will examine a range of questions including the following.
•   Does the judicial appointments process secure an independent judiciary?
• Should Parliament scrutinise judicial appointments?
• How can public understanding of the appointments process be improved?
• Is the system based on merit?
• Do we have a sufficiently diverse judiciary?

Committee Chairman, Baroness Jay of Paddington, said: “the judiciary is one of the three power bases on which our whole system of government depends. But a judiciary is only as good as the people appointed to its most senior positions. Now that we are at a point where recent changes to the UK’s judicial system are settling down, we want to be sure that the UK is getting the best. That is why we are going to examine the judicial appointments process.”

Notes to Editors

  1. For the full call for evidence, list of questions, and information about how to submit evidence, please see the inquiry page. Evidence should be submitted by 30 June 2011, preferably by email to constitution@parliament.uk
  2. The Committee expects to hold public meetings for this inquiry from 29 June. Journalists and members of the public are welcome to attend. A regularly updated schedule of meetings will be available on the website. Please contact the Lords Press Office or subscribe to email alerts and newsfeeds if you would like to be kept informed.
  3. The House of Lords Constitution Committee investigates constitutional issues. It is one of the five permanent investigative committees in the House of Lords. The Committee’s Members include a former Lord Chancellor, a former Attorney General and a leading human rights lawyer. For more information about the Committee, see Committee Membership.
  4. The Constitution Committee is chaired by Baroness Jay of Paddington. To arrange interviews or other media activity with the Committee please contact Catherine Day on +44(0) 207 219 8659.

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