Appointment of Justices (2010-2011)
…a review of the selection process…carried out by the Chief Executive (JENNY ROWE), reporting to the President of the Court (LORD PHILLIPS). This review will take into account the relevant recommendations of the panel on Judicial Diversity, chaired by Baroness Neuberger (sister-in-law of Lord Neuberger, future President of the Supreme Court from 2012 to 2017).
…a selection commission sat to recommend successors to Lord Saville who retired on 30 September 2010 and Lord Collins who retired on 7 May 2011.
The selection commission was successful to appoint the most corrupt judge of the 21st Century, Lord Justice Wilson to the Supreme Court in May 2011 who was given the courtesy title Lord Wilson of Culworth (photo insert) with his new appointment. We are in the process of inviting Lord Wilson of Culworth to retire early from the judicial office or have him impeached. Lord Neuberger already retired this year, in 2017, from office – President of the Supreme Court, following bribery and corrupt activities he engaged in with Lord Wilson of Culworth. Both now stand to loose their courtesy titles conferred upon them for life.
Procedure for appointing a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:
- Selection commission:
- Lord Phillips as President of the Court
- Lord Hope as Deputy President;
- Lord Justice Coghlin representing the Judicial Appointments Commission in Northern Ireland;
- Professor Dame Hazel Genn representing the Judicial Appointments Commission in England and Wales; and
- Sir Muir Russell representing the Judicial Appointments Board in Scotland.
- Statute requires at least one member of a selection commission to be a lay member – in this instance there were two.
- Representatives from England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were nominated by the judicial appointments bodies in the individual jurisdictions, as required by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
- Legislation does not prescribe a process that a selection commission has to follow, although under section 27 (9) the commission must have regard to any guidance given by the Lord Chancellor (Kenneth Clarke from 12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012, serving under Prime Minister David Cameron) as to matters to be taken into account (subject to any other provision in the Act) in making a selection. In practice each selection commission determines its own process.
- Selection commission took the decision that the vacancies should be advertised and interested and qualified people invited to apply. An Information Pack was drawn up for potential applicants which was made available on our website or by request.
- Extensive consultation required under the Act, along with the application process itself, makes for a lengthy selection process.
- Review of the selection process: In conducting this review the Chief Executive (JENNY ROWE) wrote to all the statutory consultees under the Act, and received responses from some, either in writing or at meetings. She also met with individual members of the selection commission established to recommend a successor to Lord Neuberger, now Master of the Rolls; received views from the candidates who had been shortlisted and interviewed; had a meeting with Baroness Neuberger (sister-in-law of Lord Neuberger, future President of the Supreme Court from 2012 to 2017) to discuss the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity which she chaired; and had a meeting with the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Judge) and the Master of the Rolls (Lord Neuberger).
- Recommendations of the review fell into two key areas:
1. The statutory position.
2. The processes adopted by the selection commission.
- Amongst the recommendations made about the statutory process were:
- There should be no necessity for the Lord Chancellor to undertake a second round of consultations after he had received the report from the selection commission (section 28(5) of the Act), but the Chairman of the selection commission should be placed under an obligation to let the statutory consultees know the recommendation made to the Lord
- A selection commission, once convened, should remain in place for a period of 12 months and be empowered to deal with any vacancy which arose in that period.
- Under section 27(5) of the Act, selection must be on merit. Under sub-section (8) “In making selections for the appointment of judges of the Court, the commission must ensure that between them the judges will have knowledge of and experience of practice in the law of each part of the United Kingdom.” The legislation should be clarified so that the provisions at sub-section (8) are included in the definition of merit.
- The requirement for the Lord Chancellor formally to make the nomination of each member of the commission should be dispensed with.
- The legislation should be clarified to make it clear that where a vacancy for the office of President/Deputy President is anticipated, the selection commission established to choose the successor should not include the then serving President/Deputy President.
- These recommendations are with the Lord Chancellor and his officials for their consideration. In addition, a number of recommendations about changes to the process were adopted by the selection commission which has just completed its work, including:
- Continuing with the process of advertisement and applications.
- Better timetabling.
- A clearer and more comprehensive set of criteria for evaluating applications.
- Greater clarity over the evidence base to be considered by the selection commission.
- Improved guidance to consultees.
- A number of outstanding issues remain to be dealt with, including:
- Devising an application form.
- Better guidance to assist non-judicial applicants.
- Further outreach work.
On 4 May 2011 a formal announcement was made by the Prime Minister that Lord Justice Wilson would replace Lord Saville and Jonathan Sumption QC would fill the vacancy created by Lord Collins’ departure.
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