Justice secretary moots part-time judges as means of diversifying bench

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  • It is a good idea to expand part time judging to the higher courts. Where Ken goes wrong, however, is in saying that he will limit part time judges to 3 x 5 year terms. This will not encourage solicitors, who are more diverse, to apply. Once again, judges will come from the ranks of barristers. What is needed is a statutory right for solicitors to take time off work to be judges and not to be discriminated against at work, or even in breach of contract/partnership deed for doing so.

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  • Lord Denning has hit the nail on the head. If you want to encourage solicitors to apply for part-time judicial positions, you need to stop law firm partners/ senior managers with pound signs in their eyes from saying no because of the negative impact on the financial bottom line caused by the absence of senior fee-earners undertaking activities from which the firm can derive no income. Dare I say it, but firms need to follow (heaven forbid!) the Bar and regard the appointment of a partner to a part-time judicial post as a cause for celebration. If they do not, they are probably serving to stifle the judicial aspirations of people who could otherwise make an outstanding contribution to the judiciary.

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