The Lord Chancellor's Department is dragging the judicial appointments process into the 21st century
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine has announced that candidates will have to survive the turmoil of trial by assessment days if they are to become judges. The changes have been made after criticisms that the appointment process is not sufficiently transparent and open to scrutiny. Irvine said: "A pilot assessment centre will be held for some part-time judicial posts. We'll be looking at the findings carefully to see if it is an approach that could be adopted for other posts - and also whether the approach encourages applications from groups who are currently under-represented in the judiciary." The posts being piloted are for deputy district judges (civil and magistrates) and deputy Queens Bench masters, dealing with civil work in the High Court. The assessment days will be held in the autumn. The Lawyer surveyed a number of barristers and responses ranged from scepticism to a wait-and-see attitude. Tom Moody-Stuart of 8 New Square said: "Fair play for opening the process out, but whether it will make a blind bit of difference is another matter entirely."