Clause 5 - Appointment to listed judicial offices

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:45 pm ar 31 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) 4:45, 31 Ionawr 2002

I shall try again to explain. I may not be getting through to the Committee. Alternatively, it may be that the hon. Lady and the hon. Member for Isle of Wight understand the position, but have a point of principle in relation to the Lord Chancellor, which I understand but do not accept.

The position in relation to all appointments from High Court judge down—if that is not disparaging to those who hold other judicial posts—and tribunal appointments, is that the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, as recommended by the review, will make the recommendation for appointment in some cases and appoint in others. They will do so on a recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Commission. If they fail to accept that recommendation and act upon it, they are required to send the matter back to the Judicial Appointments Commission. They must accept the next recommendation; there can be no stalemate.

For senior judicial appointments, the Prime Minister makes the recommendation to the Queen for the appointment, and the roles of the First and Deputy First Minister are that of consultees. They may be consulted jointly, and it would be helpful if they had a joint view, but the Bill does not require them to agree on their contribution to the consultation process.