FCO puts prospective UK ECJ judges on trial

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) last week interviewed candidates to replace the UK’s retiring European Court of Justice (ECJ) judge David Edwards.

An FCO nomination will be made in the next few weeks, which must then be ratified by the European Council of Ministers, although this is just a formality.

Edwards, who leaves at the end of this year, must be replaced by a UK lawyer and The Lawyer’s sources say it is most likely to be an English High Court judge.

Sources say that it is unlikely that a senior member of the public law bar would cross over to the judiciary for the role and there is the added disincentive that the position is based in unfashionable Luxembourg. However, the position is viewed as an ideal opportunity for a High Court judge to do a six-year stint at the ECJ, leapfrog the Court of Appeal and go straight into the House of Lords. The ECJ judicial position is one of the UK’s highest public law appointments.

The successful candidate will have just one year to make a name for themself before the number of court judges balloons to 25 as part of the EU enlargement process.