Lord Chief Justice warns Govt on judicial interference

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips has called on the Government to stay away from the selection of judges in the wake of green paper ‘The Governance of Britain’, published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

In a wide-ranging speech on judicial independence yesterday, Phillips told the Commonwealth Law Conference in Nairobi that the shake-up of the justice system under the Blair administration had “important implications for the independence of the judiciary”.

In the speech, Phillips explicitly came out against any suggestion of electing judges. The MoJ green paper earlier this year said: “The Government is willing to look at the future of its role in judicial appointments to consider going further than the present arrangement, including conceivably a role for parliament itself, after consultation with the judiciary, parliament and the public if it is felt that there is a need.”

Phillips warned: “In general I can see no role for the executive in selecting judges.

“I’m only aware of one Commonwealth country where parliament is involved in judicial appointments, and that is Mozambique. I, for one, can see no need for such an innovation in the UK.”