JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN ENGLAND - A POLITICALLY CORRECT STITCH UP?
You may think that you live in a country where the best of England's lawyers are appointed to be our Judges. You would be wrong! Here is some detail on why!
Have a look at this:-
THE JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE ("JAC") Equality Objectives 2012 - 2016
The document starts off all sounding fine:-
"The Judicial Appointments Commission seeks to deliver processes which are fair and ensure all applicants receive equal treatment.
Under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 the JAC must select solely on merit. That combined with the requirement to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection will ensure that the most meritorious candidates will succeed and that the best judges will be appointed."
BUT then it begins to show the real agenda:-
"The Equality Act 2010 applied a general equality duty to the JAC. The equality duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. In addition the JAC is subject to specific duties as set out in the regulations that came into force on 10 September 2011. The duty requires the JAC to publish relevant, proportionate information demonstrating compliance with the equality duty and to set specific, measurable equality objectives.
The JAC objectives for 2012-2016 are split into four distinct areas; outreach, fair and open processes, monitoring, and promoting diversity within our staff. Each objective and the associated outcomes are detailed below. Reference to statistical data in Objective 4 refers to four specific areas, namely; gender, ethnicity, disability and professional background. This is in line with the Commission's identified under represented groups. However, all protected characteristics, as defined in the Equality Act 2010, are considered when carrying out equality assessments."
To widen the pool of candidates applying for judicial positions through communication and outreach activities"
"The JAC will continue to encourage the widest range of good quality candidates to apply for judicial vacancies. In order to meet this objective we will:
" Continue to explain the selection process through a balanced outreach programme linked to the exercise programme.
" Increase our online presence to help raise awareness and understanding.
" Continue to circulate details of vacancies to a wide network of partner organisations to promote opportunities to their members.
" Analyse candidate feedback following seminars and exercises to ensure available materials continue to be appropriate and relevant and meets candidate expectations.
" Improve feedback provided to candidates throughout the selection process."
" "Agreed outcomes of Barriers survey to be fed into the Diversity Forum Forward Look."
To ensure that all JAC selection exercise policies, procedures and practices are free of any unintended bias ensuring all candidates experience a fair and open process"
" "Complete an equality impact assessment against all nine protected characteristics for all selection exercise materials and all changes to the selection process used to identify any bias (unintended or otherwise) and make amendments where necessary."
" "Continue to deliver equality and diversity training for all panel members as part of a tailored training package delivered before each exercise."
" "Continue to work with the Judicial Diversity Taskforce and steering group to implement the Neuberger recommendations and other related activities."
" "Ensure progression rates for the reported groups are consistent throughout the selection exercise and where possible in line with or an improvement on the eligible pool".
To monitor the diversity of candidates selected for judicial appointment (against the eligible pool where available) and take remedial action where appropriate"
" "Consider diversity at the three key checkpoints of the exercise, namely, application, short listing and selection day stage and seek to remedy any disproportional 'drop out' of candidates by protected characteristics as outlined in the Equality Act 2010 on which we have data."
" "Wherever possible we will use a previous comparator exercise to measure any increases/decreases in applications from women, disabled, black and minority ethnic candidates and solicitors in line with the Commission's identified under represented groups."
" "Continue to publish official statistics containing diversity breakdowns for public scrutiny twice yearly on the JAC website "
" "Invite equality representatives from the legal professions, i.e. Bar Council, Law Society and CILEx to equality assess qualifying tests and role plays making recommendations for change where appropriate."
Promoting diversity in the workplace and ensuring that the JAC meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 as an employer"
" "Ensure regular updates and monitoring of the diversity breakdown of permanent staff through the HR system."
" "Staff reflect the diversity of the general population at all levels."
Click here for the full article >>>
The Judicial Appointments Commission is of course applying a system set for it by the Commissars of Political Correctness. Here are some key extracts from :-
THE REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON JUDICAL DIVERSITY 2010
"DEVELOPING A DIVERSE POOL
The Panel recommends that the Bar Council, the Law Society and ILEX set out a detailed and timetabled programme of change to improve the diversity profile of members of the professions who are suitable for appointment at all levels. They should bring this plan to the Judicial Diversity Taskforce within 12 months of the publication of this report. This plan should include information on how progress will be monitored."
The legal profession and the judiciary should put in place systems for supporting suitable and talented candidates from under-represented groups to apply for judicial appointment."
"THE JAC'S INTERVIEWING PANELS
The JAC must assemble diverse selection panels. There should always be a gender and, wherever possible, an ethnic mix.
Panel chairs and members must receive regular equality and diversity training that addresses how to identify and value properly transferable skills and also to ensure that they are aware of any potential issues regarding their unconscious bias.
All JAC selection panel chairs and members should be regularly appraised and membership periodically refreshed. Poorly performing panel members should be removed."
"APPOINTMENT TO THE SUPREME COURT AND COURT OF APPEAL
The selection process for vacancies in the most senior courts should be open and transparent, with decisions made on an evidence base provided by the applicant and their referees in response to published criteria. No judge should be directly involved in the selection of his/her successor and there should always be a gender and, wherever possible, an ethnic mix on the selection panel.
The selection process to the Supreme Court for the United Kingdom should be reviewed to reduce the number of serving justices involved and to ensure there is always a gender and, wherever possible, an ethnic mix on the selection panel. This review should include consultation with the Lord Chief Justices of England and Wales and Northern Ireland and the Lord President of the Court of Session."
Click here for the full article>>>
This "Report" was chaired by, and mostly written by, Baroness Neuberger. Its recommendations are sometimes referred to in official documents as "Neuberger guidelines".
Here is an extract from Baroness Neuberger's biography that may help clarify what mind-set and ideological background she brought to her work. It also clarifies what personal interests she might have brought to bear in writing the report.
"Rabbi Julia Babette Sarah Neuberger, Baroness Neuberger, DBE (born 27 February 1950; née Julia Schwab) is a member of the British House of Lords. She formerly took the Liberal Democrat whip, but resigned from the party and joined the Crossbenches in September 2011 upon becoming the full-time Senior Rabbi to the West London Synagogue.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Julia Schwab was born on 27 February 1950 to Walter and Liesel ("Alice") Schwab. She attended South Hampstead High School and Newnham College, Cambridge, obtaining her Rabbinic Diploma at Leo Baeck College, London, where she taught from 1977-97. She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994-2000.
Her father was born in the UK to German Jewish immigrants who arrived before the First World War. Her mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany, arriving at age 22 in 1937. The Schwab Trust was set up in their name, to help support and educate young refugees and asylum seekers.
Neuberger was Britain's second female rabbi after Jackie Tabick, and the first to have her own synagogue. She was rabbi of the South London Liberal Synagogue from 1977 to 1989 and is President of West Central Liberal Synagogue. She has been president of theLiberal Judaism movement since January 2007. On 1 February 2011, the West London Synagogue (a Movement for Reform Judaism synagogue) announced that she had been appointed as Senior Rabbi of the synagogue.
Neuberger was appointed a DBE in the New Year Honours of 2003. In June 2004 she was created a life peer as Baroness Neuberger, of Primrose Hill in the London Borough of Camden. She served as a Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson from 2004 to 2007. On 29 June 2007, Baroness Neuberger was appointed by the incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the government's champion of volunteering. She resigned from the Liberal Democrats upon becoming Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue.
PERSONAL LIFE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Julia Schwab married Professor Anthony Neuberger. They have two adult children, a son and a daughter. Anthony Neuberger is the son of Professor Albert Neuberger, and the brother of Professors Michael and James Neuberger, as well as Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom."
For further reference on Baroness Neuberger you might find this snippet interesting>>>
Rabbi Julia Neuberger (of West London Synagogue)'s daughter Harriet to be gay bride | Daily Mail Online
It is also "interesting" to say the least that this is what Baroness Neuberger's brother-in-law said recently:-
"A career judiciary with fast-track promotion to higher courts may be required to overcome lack of diversity on the bench, the UK's most senior judge has suggested. City law firms use "honeyed words" to obscure their efforts in preventing talented solicitors from becoming judges, Lord Neuberger, president of the supreme court, said. He said without further changes the shortage of women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds would take too long to rectify.
In an interview with the UK supreme court blog, Neuberger also says that the courts system remains "chronically underfunded" and that the increase in litigants in person - due to cuts in legal aid - is leading to delays and "less good justice".
His comments, released in advance of the new legal term, will galvanise the debate over how to ensure that the judiciary better reflects the composition of society. Overall, 24.5% of court judges are women and about 5.8% are from ethnic backgrounds. Seven of the 38 judges in the court of appeal are women.
Of the 12 justices on the supreme court only one, Lady Hale, is a woman. Another of the justices, Lord Sumption, has said that under the current appointments system it will take 50 years to achieve a representative judiciary.
"A career judiciary where there is a potential fast track could be an option: such an individual could enter it at, say, the age of 35 as a junior tribunal member or possibly a district judge and work their way up," Neuberger told the UKSC blog, which is independent of the supreme court…"
Neuberger said that it should not be assumed that the problem will rectify itself. "I am not one of those people who optimistically thinks that if we just sit back it will all sort itself out and the judiciary will eventually include many more women and ethnic minorities," he said. Merit should still be an essential requirement "although to be fair, merit is a slightly flexible concept"."
Here is the full article>>>
Judiciary needs fast-track scheme to boost diversity, says top judge | Law | theguardian.com