Monthly Archives: May 2012

Constitutional Reform Act 2005: Amendments on judicial appointments proposed 2012

Amendments to the 2005 Act are set out in full below
The Crime and Courts Bill 2012 has important amendments to Britain’s Constitutional Reform Act 2005 that reduce the independence from the Government of judicial appointments.

In particular the Secretary of State for Justice (aka Lord Chancellor), currently Kenneth Clarke, is to sit on the appointment panel for the President of the Supreme Court (while the sitting president would be removed) and Lord Chief Justice; whole sections on judicial appointments procedure are removed from the 2005 Act; powers to decide how to replace those sections are given to the Secretary of State (quasi-Henry VIII powers); as are powers to decide the make-up of the Judicial Appointments Commission (with a view to increasing the proportion of lay members compared with judicial members).

It is intended that the 12 UK Supreme Court justices should become a “maximum” of 12 (or full-time equivalents) with the Secretary of State deciding exactly what number is required.

There are also amendments intended to increase diversity such as provision for part-time judicial posts and a “tipping point” provision whereby diversity requirements can come into play if two judicial candidates are deemed of equal merit.

The changes are in Schedule 12 to the Bill. Since it is often difficult to read back to the original Act on the basis of amendments, Thinking Legally has stitched together the relevant sections of the 2005 Act with the amendments in the Crime and Courts Bill regarding judicial appointments and also diversity. Continue reading

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