chapter  3
28 Pages

Power and judicial appointment

Squaring the impossible circle
ByAlan Paterson OBE

This chapter explores that the senior judiciary in the UK, particularly in England and Wales, have over the last one hundred and fifty years gradually acquired the lion's share of power in all three of Lukes' senses over the appointment of senior judges. It also explains that this evolution, although it is genuinely and understandably believed by the senior judges to be in the public interest, is in fact unhealthy for democracy and for the judiciary itself. Historically, the courts were the monarch's courts, a key part of the apparatus by which the kingdom was governed. In England the three main branches of the state, the Courts, Parliament and the Cabinet all emanated from the monarch's Council. The forces that led to the introduction of the Judicial Appointments Board in Scotland in 2002 and the Judicial Appointment Commissions in England and Wales and Northern Ireland in 2005 have been described at length in other publications.