The Ministry of Justice has this morning published a consultation paper “Appointments and Diversity: A Judiciary for the 21st Century” (CP19/2011). It seeks views on
- transferring the Lord Chancellor’s decision-making powers to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales for appointments either below the High Court or the Court of Appeal
- requiring the Judicial Appointments Commission of England and Wales to consult the Lord Chancellor at an early stage of senior appointments in England and Wales
- making the Lord Chancellor part of the selection panels for the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and for the President of the UK Supreme Court, and making other changes to the composition of panels
- removing the Prime Minister from the process (an entirely formal role)
- encouraging more diverse applicants by creating part-time judicial roles in the High Court and Court of Appeal and making use of the tie-break provision in the Equality Act 2010
- reducing the number of Judicial Appointment Commissioners.
Meanwhile, the House of Lords Constitution Committee is continuing with its inquiry into judicial appointments.