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Judicial appointments: improving efficiency, transparency and diversity

Date:30 OCT 2013

Regulations made under the Crime and Courts Act 2013 commencing in September and October 2013 will promote efficiency, transparency and diversity in judicial appointments, according to the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Key provisions of the recent legislation include the introduction of flexible working in the High Court and above. The aim is to enable judges to move more easily between working in the courts and tribunals.

New selection processes are also under discussion with a focus on transparency and the provision of opportunities for all eligible candidates to be objectively assessed. An ‘equal merit' provision will also feature, so that where two candidates are of equal merit, one can be chosen on the basis that their appointment improves diversity.

There are further provisions aimed at improving the diversity of selection panels and ensuring greater lay influence on the decisions to appoint the President of the Supreme Court and the Lord Chief Justice.

The Lord Chancellor will now focus on appointments to senior judicial posts. Powers to accept, reject or ask for recommendations for judicial appointments below the High Court have been transferred to the Lord Chief Justice or to the Senior President of Tribunals for tribunal appointments.

The changes arise out of the general duty under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 to have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection, and additional duties imposed on public authorities under the Equality Act 2010.