Clause 5 - Appointment to listed judicial offices

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 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) 4:30, 31 Ionawr 2002

The hon. Lady is perfectly right. Her amendment would remove the First Minister and Deputy First Minister from having a role in the appointments process and would replace them with the Lord Chancellor. She has already ably articulated why she believes that that should be the case. The Committee should be familiar by now with the Government's position, because I have already said several times that the review and the Bill make it clear that devolving judicial appointments is a key part of the wider judicial process. It would be inconsistent to devolve that function while retaining a role for the Lord Chancellor. Equally, however, our policy on

judicial appointments before devolution remains, so that those powers will stay with the Lord Chancellor and the commission will be set up only on devolution. I hope that that provides the necessary clarification, although I gather that it will not persuade the hon. Lady. I urge her to withdraw her amendments--all the amendments in this group were moved by the hon. Lady.