First, we will have to separate the issue that Mr Allister raised from any suggestion that either the current chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission, or the wider Judicial Appointments Commission, are responsible for any imbalance or have failed in their duty to apply processes on merit. Most Members will agree that merit is an important principle. It is certainly one that I believe in and support in respect of how we deal with diversity. It is often in supporting people to be able to come forward and apply where the weaknesses lie.
As Minister, I have not taken a particular interest in NIJAC and the appointment of judicial office holders, beyond the conversations that I have had with the current Lord Chief Justice about the demands that are being placed on the judiciary at this time and how we can be of assistance. If the Chairman of the Committee wishes to take that forward as something that the Committee is interested in, he is of course at liberty to do so.
Without further ado, I commend the draft order to the House.
Question put and agreed to. Resolved:
That the Maximum Number of Judges Order (Northern Ireland) 2020 be affirmed.