Anorak News | Judge And Jury

Judge And Jury

by | 2nd, July 2004

‘SADDAM Hussein can curse his luck that he was never tried in a British court.

Blair with the next Lord Chancellor and the future UK President

A simple and secretive handshake, a quick shimmy and a flick of the tie and he’d have been a free man as quick as you can say “Masonic Lodge”.

And do not doubt for a moment that there exists something not quite that open and frank about the judiciary and its judges.

The Times has seen a report by the Commission for Judicial Appointments into how High Court judges are deemed to be fit for the job and notices something amiss.

The selection system is “opaque, outdated and not demonstrably based upon merit”, says the report’s eight authors. In the language of the courtroom, it’s a fit-up.

The report also found that the Lord Chancellor, Tony Bair’s old flatmate Lord Falconer (who replaced Tony Blair’s old mentor Lord Irvine of Lairg in the office with the to-die-for wallpaper), and senior judges “took significant account” of things other than candidates’ suitability.

Indeed, some judges may have been appointed “on the basis simply that they are better known to the Lord Chancellor and Heads of Division [of the High Court]”.

But don’t worry, things are set to improve.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs, which oversees judges, has seen the report and acknowledged the findings within.

Says a spokesperson for the DCA: “The commissioners have made a number of criticisms and a number of helpful suggestions on the way forward.

“Working closely with the senior judiciary, we will consider all the commission’s points carefully.”

That’s just dandy. And The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs will soon put things to rights.

And who is that trusty sword? Why, none other than Lord Falconer of Thornton, the Lord Chancellor!’

Posted: 2nd, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink