Judicial Appointments Commission
The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is an independent commission that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales, and for some tribunals whose jurisdiction extends to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
It selects candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition, from the widest range of eligible candidates.
The JAC was set up in order to maintain and strengthen judicial independence by taking responsibility for selecting candidates for judicial office out of the hands of the Lord Chancellor and making the appointments process clearer and more accountable.
The Chief Executive of the JAC is Nigel Reeder.
The composition of the JAC is set out in Schedule 12 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. There are 15 Commissioners, including the Chairman. Commissioners serve for terms up to five years.
Under the terms of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, 12 Commissioners (including the Chairman) are appointed through open competition and three are nominated by the Judges’ Council.
Increasing Judicial Diversity
There are currently several programmes that are designed to assist eligible candidates considering a career in judicial office.
A new initiative to attract more exceptionally high quality lawyers and legal academics from non-traditional backgrounds to sit in the High Court in London is currently being piloted.
The initiative includes a specially designed programme of mentoring and support to help able candidates from more diverse backgrounds.
The Judicial Mentoring Scheme has been developed and focusses on addressing under-representation of women, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) lawyers and encouraging greater socio-economic diversity.
The Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme gives eligible legal practitioners who are considering a career in judicial office an insight into the work of a judge. Shadowing can cover any aspect of a judge’s work, both in court and out of court.