Clause 2 - Introductory

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 29 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 4:30, 29 Ionawr 2002

Considering the amendments in totality, we accept that there should be a difference between the appointment of judges on the list in schedule 1 and the most senior judicial appointments. For ease of debate, I shall refer to the former group as being devolved.

The hon. Lady seems to have moved judges of the High Court into the same position as that of the most senior judges, in terms of the provisions that relate to their removal in certain restricted circumstances. I am trying to simplify the Government's position, as it is simple, essentially. If the appointment is devolved, the process for removal has to reflect that appointment and be devolved. The fact that the appointment of the most senior judges is at the hands of Her Majesty means that their removal has to be different from the devolved process, and has to involve a motion before both Houses. That is the reason for the difference, not because some view has been taken of the importance of the judges, although some are clearly in more senior positions than others. If she accepts that a devolved process of appointment is appropriate, a devolved process of removal is also appropriate.