Is There a Case for Greater Legislative Involvement in the Judicial Appointments Process?
The Study of Parliament Group Paper No. 3, London: 2014 ISBN 978 0 9510485 1 1
86 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2014 Last revised: 20 Jun 2019
Date Written: March 20, 2014
The dramatic increase in public law and human rights cases coming before the UK Supreme Court (and the Appellate Committee before it) means that the UK’s top court is more frequently determining essentially socio-political questions. In the light of this expanding judicial role, this paper asks whether new mechanisms for increasing political accountability, such as a parliamentary confirmation procedure, are needed for appointment to the most senior judicial offices (including, but not limited to, the UK Supreme Court).
The research addresses the conceptual arguments for greater political accountability in the appointment process. It also considers the expanding ambit of judicial independence. Focusing on whether parliamentarians should have a role in the judicial appointments process, it asks what is meant by political accountability in the context of judicial appointments and considers what evidence there is that greater accountability is necessary. The research examines whether new methods of accountability could be introduced in the UK without impacting on judicial independence. It seeks to shed light on these questions by examining the recent move by the UK Parliament to introduce pre-appointment hearings for other senior posts and evaluates whether such processes are readily transferable and, if so, whether UK parliamentary committees are well placed to undertake this task.
Keywords: Judicial Appointments; Human Rights; Constitutional Law; Judiciary
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation