We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 2 - Membership of the Commission

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 25th March 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 11:00 am, 25th March 2004

There are several amendments and several issues to engage with. Amendment No. 1 would remove the duty to secure a reflective Judicial Appointments Commission from those responsible for making nominations to it—the Lord Chief Justice, the Bar Council and the Law Society. As the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland rightly pointed out, amendment No. 2 is consequential.

Clause 2(1) will amend the 2002 Act to provide that the Judicial Appointments Commission as a whole should be, as far as it practicable, reflective of the community in Northern Ireland. Notwithstanding the commission's ability to delegate functions and roles to committees and sub-committees, which we have just

debated at length, it is still a commission as a whole. We must consider the question whether the burden of reflectiveness should fall on the lay membership or on the commission in its entirety.

The provision requires the commission as a whole to be reflective of the community. Those who have the power to nominate members will have to play their part in working towards that objective, and it is not enough to require the Lord Chancellor alone to address reflectiveness when he does not have responsibility for appointments to the commission. Accordingly, I ask for amendments Nos. 1 and 2 not to be pressed.