Thursday, 4 February 2010

Supreme ambition, jealousy and outrage - Times Online

Supreme ambition, jealousy and outrage - Times Online

Following my post earlier about the 12th Justice - now see the above in the Times today.

Should Lord Mance have intervened in a recruitment process in which his wife (Arden LJ) was apparently a candidate?

Should those LJs who are candidates for the job be consulted on who should be appointed to the SC?

I know that some LCJs/MRs (as Life Peers) and retired Law Lords have sat with the Law Lords as Lords of Appeal (as opposed to full time Lords of Appeal in Ordinary). I also think that Lord Cook of Thorndon sat with the Law Lords as a Life Peer from 1996-2001. 
But has there been any other recent modern examples of Judicial Life Peers sitting on the Appellate Committee apart from Lord Clarke?  
Why was Lord Clarke given a life peerage and why did he sit with the Law Lords (whilst still Master of the Rolls) prior to his appointment as a Justice of the SC commencing?  
Note the wording of the MoJ statement on when the ban on Justices of the SC getting peerages would commence:

All new judges appointed to the Supreme Court after its creation will not be members of the House of Lords; they will become Justices of the Supreme Court.

The chronology in respect of Lord Clarke is recorded on wikkipedia as:

it was announced that Clarke would be granted a life peerage[2], and he was subsequently created Baron Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, of Stone-cum-Ebony in the County ofKent, on 29 May 2009,[3] and took his seat in the House of Lords on 1 June 2009.[4] It was announced on 20 April 2009 that he was to be appointed to the Supreme Court with effect from 1 October 2009.[5]

Was this all done because of the Mance Memo to Straw?

Meanwhile, in an interesting coda to the Sumption Supreme Court scandal,  it emerges that the shortlisted candidates for the job the first time round, who included the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile of Berriew, QC; leading human rights solicitor Stephen Grosz and the former chief parliamentary draftsman Sir Geoffrey Bowman, were told that there were to be no interviews. However an interview was held, with Sumption, Sir Anthony Clarke and Lord Justice Collins - although these were to be "confirmatory": in other words, the choice had been made. 

1 comment:

  1. The whole selection process for the 12th Justice ought to be recommenced with an entirely different selection panel. Somehow, I doubt that they will do this but unless they do questions will remain. Who would want any position with questions hanging over one's appointment?

    Lord Mance most definitely should NOT have got involved given that his wife was a candidate. Whatever the motivation, it does not look at all right and that, in itself, ought to vitiate the whole process.

    It also appears to outsiders that this peerage/no peerage issue is distorting the process. Another good reason to either make all Supreme Court Justices peers or none of them. Personally, I would prefer the latter route but it would only be achievable over time commencing (hopefully) with the next appointment.