The Appointment of Judges in the United Kingdom

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Democracy and Judicial Independence

Democracy vitally demands that the systems of justice and individual judges be immune and impartial from external pressure. Hence, enabling those who seek the services of the court system to develop confidence due to fairness aligned with the law. Individual judges should be free from influence from the executive, legislature, media, individual litigants or groups.[1]

Controversies Surrounding Judicial Independence

They must possess independence. Judicial independence has compounded controversies losing the concept of its analytical purpose. Factors that lead to this include conceptual in lack of clarity of freedom, the normative influence of tyrannous majority, and the appointment of judges.

Judicial Appointments in European Countries

In most European countries, the judicial appointment is a process designed to enhance a balance in the ideologies of justice, and a court system based on consensus. They ensure that all political spectrum have a right in selecting judges. Thus, group decisions offer a more formidable account of the perspectives of diversity. The system of justice in the United Kingdom is globally renowned. The legal system embodies such principles as independence, integrity and fairness, and total commitment to the rule of law.[2]

Changes in the Appointment of Judges

Thus, the judiciary ensures fair legal processes based on evidence and facts.

The changes in the appointment of judges were necessary based on some motivating factors. Firstly, the Judicial Appointment Commission strengthens and sustains the independence of the judiciary by selecting officials through accountable appointment and processes. Indeed, this is based on merit through fair competition. The array of eligible candidates needed diversification from the intellectual capacities to representation.[3]

The selection was therefore taken from the Lord Chancellor to the commission.

Secondly, the aspects of merit integrate a broad spectrum of qualities and skills. Excellence was considered a highly quality advocacy in choosing judges. Hence, this only favoured the white male judges. The capacity of becoming a substantive judge require more than just intellectual size, but diversification in both social, political, and economic aspects.[4]

Lawyers with minimal experience can also make good judges.

Enhancing Service Delivery in Court Systems

Further, various limits were evident in the court systems especially in enhancing service delivery. In relation, there was the need to increase capacity and the number of legal professionals to facilitate court processes and reduce the backblock of cases.[5] In regard, this met the necessary minimum change. The appointment of more judges leveraged a taskforce in the systems of justice.

Public Participation and Gender Parity

The activity of judging is complex and requires judges to comprehend the array of experiences before them. The modern way of life is globalised and criminal cases are getting more challenging.[6] Therefore, there was the need for public participation and development of law in assisting judges. The concept of selection considered the vulnerable and under-represented groups to improve evidence-based decision making and curb cases of discrimination within the justice corridors. It was also essential to discuss the aspects of gender parity and increase the number of women in courts. Some women judges have proven to be better than their male counterparts in the administration of justice. Thus, justifying the need for the modification of the judges' appointment process.

The Role of Judges in Observing the Constitution

It must be to the broader concern of judges to observe the ambiguity of the constitution and enhance their responsibility based on equal and fair provisions of justice. In regard, they should discharge cases based on the evidence presented in court by the litigating parties.[7]

Challenges to Judicial Independence

Relevant facts must be the basis of decisions. Nevertheless, this has been hindered by the powers of the legislature and the legislature. The two branches of government possess the ability to thwart and disobey judicial decisions and retaliate against court decisions that did not favour them.

Further changes are therefore required especially to give judges more immunity from prosecution of judicial acts and defamation in hearing cases. However, this should convince judges that they are not above the law but are secured to offer amicable and transparent obligations to the public. To further address the independence of the judiciary, judges should be allowed to render full sanction of innocence and guilt as opposed to the task being made by the jury, a cluster of resident citizens, and registered electors.[8]

Representation of minority groups and addressing racial segregation to increase the number of judges from other ethnicities and races should also be taken into account.

Ensuring Fair Hearing and Independence

It is the responsibility of judges to conduct disputes between citizens, states, or private entities. Sound policies and constitutional amendments must be adhered to observe sound justice systems. As such, the judiciary will ensure fair hearing. The independence of the court should be followed by all the relevant stakeholders especially in the processes of appointments.


House of Lords. "Judicial Appointments: follow-up.” No. 32, 2017, pp. 1-50. Last modified 2017.

Select Committee on the Constitution. Judicial Appointments: follow-up, no. 32, 2017, pp. 1-50, Accessed 6 Dec. 2018.

Sikkink, Kathryn. The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics (The Norton Series in World Politics). WW Norton & Company, 2011.

UK Parliament. "House of Lords - Judicial Appointments - Constitution Committee."Last modified 2012.

Woolf, Lord. "The Rule of Law and a Change in the Constitution."The Cambridge Law Journal 63, no. 2 (2004): 317-330.

[1]UK Parliament. "House of Lords - Judicial Appointments - Constitution Committee."United Kingdom Parliament Home Page. Last modified 2012.

[2]House of Lords. "Judicial Appointments: follow-up.” No. 32, 2017, pp. 1-50. Last modified 2017.

[3]Ibid., 6





[6] Sikkink, Kathryn. The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics (The Norton Series in World Politics). WW Norton & Company, 2011. (1)


Ibid., 2

[8] Woolf, Lord. "The Rule of Law and a Change in the Constitution."The Cambridge Law Journal 63, no. 2 (2004): 317-330. (318)

December 12, 2023

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