chapter  11
17 Pages

Beyond merit

The new challenge for judicial appointments
ByJohn Morison

The combination of 'merit' with 'diversity' in judicial appointments has until recently been seen as the best way towards resolving the tension between having the sort of 'representative' judiciary that is required in a modern legal system, and ensuring that judges remain of sufficient 'quality' to discharge their role effectively. The idea of merit is, however, becoming seen increasingly as problematic. Legislation allowing a candidate from an under-represented minority to be selected when that candidate and another are of equal merit, has attracted suspicion as to its effectiveness. This chapter investigates the understanding of merit, beyond the formal requirements for each post that are held by those who make up the applicant pool. A 'Judicial Career' is a concept which appears as Recommendation 44 of the 'Report of the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity 2010' in England and Wales: 'The concept of a judicial career is key to achieving progress on a more diverse judiciary'.