5 Pages


ByThomas Legg KCB QC

The 'old' system of the 80s and 90s was in fact at the time a new system, mainly devised by my predecessor Sir Derek Oulton. With the Civil Service as our model, we tried to make the process more regular, recorded and objective. The Lord Chancellors of the day, who of course were themselves senior barristers or judges, usually but by no means always made their appointments in agreement with the senior judges. The present ground-rules are rational enough. The combined effect of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and the Crime and Courts Act 2013 requires that candidates for judicial office must be selected 'solely on merit', but that where there are two candidates of equal merit, that candidate can be selected who will most improve diversity. The Lord Chancellor's involvement has now been diluted almost to vanishing point. That is understandable now that the Lord Chancellor is a mere 'politician', often without legal qualifications or knowledge.