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The Judiciary Judges The Judiciary Introduction to judges • types of judge The Judiciary Types of judge • Law Lords • Judges in the Court of Appeal • High Court Judges • Circuit Judges • District Judges • District Judges (Magistrates’ Court) • Recorders (part-time judges) The Judiciary Law Lords Title: Lords of Appeal in Ordinary/Law Lords Number: 12 Court: House of Lords and Privy Council Appointed by: the queen on recommendation of the prime minister, who has been advised by the Lord Chancellor Qualifications: appointed from those who hold high judicial office, e.g. a judge in the Court of Appeal, or from those with 15 years’ experience of supreme courts The Judiciary Judges in the Court of Appeal Title: Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal Number: 37 Court: Court of Appeal Appointed by: the queen on recommendation of the prime minister, who has been advised by the Lord Chancellor; the Lord Chancellor will have consulted senior members of the judiciary Qualifications: the statutory qualification is a 10-year High Court qualification or being a High Court Judge; most Court of Appeal judges are promoted from the ranks of experienced High Court Judges The Judiciary High Court Judges Title: Mr or Mrs Justice (Surname) Number: 112 Court: High Court and serious cases in Crown Court Appointed by: the queen on advice from Lord Chancellor. Qualifications: they must have a right of audience in relation to all proceedings in the High Court for 10 years, or have been a Circuit Judge for at least 2 years; once appointed, they are assigned to a Division of the High Court — the Chancery Division, the Queen's Bench Division, or the Family Division. The Judiciary Circuit Judges Number: 636 and 42 Deputy Circuit Judges who sit part time in retirement Court: Circuit Judges are assigned to a particular circuit and may sit at any of the Crown and County Courts on that circuit; they can hear both criminal and civil cases Appointed by: the queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor Qualifications: 10-year Crown Court or 10-year County Court qualification or to be the holder of one of a number of other judicial offices for at least 3 years The Judiciary District Judges Number: 412, and 744 Deputy District Judges Court: on appointment, a District Judge is assigned to a particular circuit and may sit at any of the County Courts or District Registries of the High Court in that circuit; a District Registry is part of the High Court, situated in various places in England and Wales Appointed by: the Lord Chancellor Qualifications: 7-year general qualification The Judiciary District Judges (Magistrates’ Court) Number: 128, and 167 Deputy District Judges (Magistrates’ Court) Court: District Judges (Magistrates’ Court) hear cases in Magistrates’ Courts; they are paid and deal with the full range of cases and usually hear the longest and most complicated cases; they can either sit alone or with lay magistrates Appointed by: the Lord Chancellor Qualifications: 7-year general qualification The Judiciary Recorders (part-time judges) Number: 1,404 Court: Recorders may sit in both the Crown and County Courts;most begin in the Crown Court, although after about 2 years and further training, they may sit in the County Courts; a Recorder must sit for at least 15 days a year but not normally for more than 30 days Appointed by: the queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor Qualifications: the statutory qualification for appointment as a Recorder is a 10-year Crown Court or 10-year County Court qualification The Judiciary Selection of Judges The Judiciary Until 2005, the Lord chancellor was the key figure in the selection of superior judges. The Chancellor’s Department kept secret files on all possible candidates, including existing judges opinions on their suitability. When there was a vacancy in one of the superior courts, the Lord Chancellor would invite a judge based on the information in the departments file. This ‘secret’ system was heavily criticised, and was improved through open advertisements from 1998. However, the Lord Chancellor still chose the most suitable candidate. As the Lord Chancellors role is primarily political it was felt that judicial appointment could not be kept independent from political influence. The method of appointment was changed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and a Judicial Appointments Commission created to deal with the selection of judges The Judiciary The Judicial Appointments Committee Responsible for the appointment of between 500 and 700 judges each year. There are 15 members of the Commission including: • 6 lay members • 5 judges (3 from CofA or HC, plus 1 Circuit Judge and 1 District Judge) • 1 barrister • 1 solicitor • 1 magistrate • 1 tribunal member The Judiciary Judicial Qualities The Commission has listed five qualities that are desirable for a good judge: • Intellectual capacity • personal qualities including integrity, independence of mind, sound judgement, decisiveness, objectivity and willingness to learn • ability to understand and deal fairly • authority and communication skills • efficiency The Judiciary The Process • Positions are advertised widely in newspapers, legal journals and online • Application form including nomination of 3-6 referees • Lower level posts require an essay or case study • Interview. Including role play or formal structured discussion task • Selections made and recommended to the Lord Chancellor for appointment The Judiciary Law Lords • Appointments not made by Judicial Appointments Commission • Lord Chancellor draws up a shortlist of potential candidates. • Prime Minister selects and nominates to the Queen The Judiciary Training The Judiciary Training Training of Judges is carried out by “Judicial Studies Board” – set up in 1979 Most of the training is focussed at the lower end of the judicial scale – aimed at recorders Once a „lawyer‟ has been appointed as a recorder in training they go on a 1 week course, then shadow an experienced judge for a week. The Judiciary Criticisms Very short training process Even if all are experienced lawyers, does not mean have the experience of summing up to jury or sentencing No compulsory training given to new High Court Judges, although invited to attend course The Judiciary Human Awareness Training 1993 – Judicial Studies Board recommended that training should include racial awareness courses. This was accepted by the Lord Chancellor, and now also includes training in gender awareness and disability issues. Example – trained that asking a non-Christian for Christian name can be seen as offensive The Judiciary Should there be a career Judiciary? In many continental countries becoming a judge is a career choice, made by students once they have their basic legal qualifications. They usually do not practice as a „lawyer‟ first. Once qualified they will sit in junior posts and work their way up the judicial ladder. The Judiciary The two main advantages of this system are: 1) The average age of judges is much lower, especially in the bottom ranks 2) Judges have had far more training in the specific skills they need as judges The main disadvantage is that judges may be seen as too closely linked to the government. In this country judges are generally considered as independent from the government The Judiciary Termination A judge’s appointment can be terminated in four different ways: • resignation • retirement • removal due to infirmity • dismissal The Judiciary Resignation Judges may resign at any time. This has been used in the past as a way of getting rid of judges without having to dismiss them, by giving them an opportunity to resign instead. The Judiciary Retirement The usual retirement age for judges is 70, as required by the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. In some circumstances, authorisation can be given for a judge to continue beyond that age The Judiciary Removal due to infirmity This method is used if a judge is incapacitated, usually through ill health, and is unable to resign. The Judiciary Dismissal Judges are given security of tenure during good behaviour. Following the Act of Settlement 1700, the Law Lords, Lords Justices of Appeal and High Court Judges can only be removed by the queen on the petition of both Houses of Parliament. Circuit Judges and other judges can be removed by the Lord Chancellor for incapacity or misbehaviour. The Judiciary Judge Court(s) Tenure Lords of Appeal in House of Lords ‘whilst of good behaviour’ Ordinary Lord Justices of Appeal Court of Appeal ‘whilst of good behaviour’ High Court Judges High Court ‘whilst of good behaviour’ Crown Court for serious cases Circuit Judges Crown Court Can be dismissed by Lord County Court Chancellor for incapacity or misbehaviour District Judges County Court Can be dismissed by Lord Magistrates Court Chancellor Recorders Crown Court Appointed for 5 years, Lord Come in County Court Chancellor can decide whether to re-appoint The Judiciary Judicial independence Great weight is given to the notion of judicial independence, and it is central to the theory of the separation of powers. The idea behind it is simple, namely that judges should operate free from pressure, whether it be applied by the government, political parties or anyone else. Without pressure, judges are free to make independent and impartial decisions, without fear of reprisal. The Judiciary Measures to ensure judicial independence 1. Security of tenure 2. Legal action against judges 3. Judicial salaries 4. Unable to take part in party politics The Judiciary Security of tenure It is very difficult to dismiss a member of the judiciary. This is to ensure that he or she acts without fear of losing his or her job at the hands of the government or other bodies. The Judiciary Legal action against judges Judges cannot be sued for anything done in their judicial role. The Judiciary Judicial salaries These are paid out of the consolidated fund and are not voted upon by Parliament, so judges will not be tempted to find in favour of the government in order to secure a pay rise. Equally, judges can act without fear of a wage cut if they make unpopular decisions. The Judiciary Unable to take part in party politics Full-time judges must refrain from active political involvement.
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