Judicial Board gets operational freedom

The Judicial Studies Board (JSB) has welcomed the greater autonomy and independence recently granted to it by the Lord Chancellor.

The board, formerly an integral part of the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), will now operate as an independent unit with control of its own budget.

Its members will set its own priorities and decide what training is needed for the judiciary. The LCD retains financial control, with the Lord Chancellor allocating resources.

The move is part of a strategy to strengthen the JSB, and follows an internal review which recommended setting up an arms-length relationship with the LCD.

The Lord Chancellor said last week: “The nature and content of judicial training should be primarily a matter for the judiciary, if it is to remain relevant to the judiciary's needs.”

He added that the new independence will “help the board to enhance the quality of the training facilities made available to the judiciary, and will improve the advice and assistance which the JSB gives towards the training of magistrates and chairmen and members of tribunals”.

Derek Hill, secretary of the JSB, said the announcement would give the board “significantly more autonomy”.

But he predicted the new-found independence would not herald any radical change in the way the JSB worked.