MPs call for judges to register interests

MEMBERS of Parliament are signing up to an early day motion calling on judges to register their interests.

This week they are calling for a shake-up in the judiciary and urging the Government to look at “further reforms” to modernise the system for selecting judges.

The demand for reform comes as Law Lords are due to decide the fate of the for mer Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

The Law Lords originally ruled that Pinochet should be extradited to Spain to face charges of torture, hostage taking and conspiracy to murder, but the ruling was quashed after it emerged that Lord Hoffmann – one of five Law Lords sitting in the first hearing – had failed to disclose his links with Amnesty International.

The Pinochet debacle has prompted MPs to call for a register of judges' pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests, a transparent system for the appointment of judges through a Judicial Appointments Commission and the allocation of more specialist judges to trials in complex, specialist cases.

Solicitor Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP behind the early day motion, says: “The Pinochet case has brought the judiciary into focus. There has to be a register of interests for judges.”