The appointment of judges to the court is a complex process set out in the CRA and amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 section 20. One of the aims of the 2013 Act was to "facilitate greater diversity." A helpful summary of the appointments process is here.
Over the next few years the following retirements apply:
- Lord Toulson - 22 September 2016
- Lord Neuberger - 10 January 2018
- Lord Clarke - 13 May 2018
- Lord Mance - 6 June 2018
- Lord Hughes - 11 August 2018
- Lord Sumption - 9 December 2018
The Supreme Court has announced
that the vacancy created by Lord Toulson's retirement from sitting full time will not be filled immediately - Supreme Court Statement on Appointments process
Lord Toulson will retire and then reappear (on an ad hoc basis) as a member of the supplemental panel.
Lord Dyson - presently Master of the Rolls - may also make a reappearance in the Supreme Court once he retires as Master of the Rolls. He will also become a member of the supplemental panel.
The Court's statement on the appointments process tells us that: "In order to encourage the broadest and most diverse range of applications and achieve the most efficient process for candidates and the independent Selection Commission, we propose that recruitment for these vacancies will be grouped together in joint selection exercises to take place over the next two years.
The grouping and chronology of these independent selection exercises will be decided in consultation between the Lord Chancellor and the Supreme Court, and announced in due course. However, the vacancy created by Lord Toulson's retirement from sitting full time will not be filled immediately."
It seems to be a sensible idea to hold a selection process and choose the next few judges. If that is the plan then is it compatible with the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 section 27(10) which requires that a selection must be of one person only?
I will leave it to others to answer that question! Let's see how it goes.
See also -
- Appointments of Justices (PDF version)
- Review of process supporting independent selection commissions for Supreme Court (PDF version)