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Supreme Court hopefuls could face parliamentary quizzing

By Michael Cross  >>

Future candidates for appointment to the Supreme Court bench might have to answer questions before a joint committee of both houses of parliament, the attorney general suggested this morning. Answering questions at an Institute for Government event, Geoffrey Cox QC sought to calm speculation following the latest spat between judges and the prime minister caused by the ruling over deportations to Jamaica.

The government is in ‘no headlong rush’ to curtail judicial independence, Cox said. While the idea of politically appointed judges was ‘completely off the table’ he said ‘I think there is a case for looking at how Supreme Court judges are appointed. One possibility could be for the UK to emulate Canada in requiring candidates to appear before a parliamentary committee’, he said.

Such a procedure might be examined by the Constitution, democracy and rights commission’ announced in last month’s Queen’s speech, Cox said. However, reform ‘will require careful examination, measured, calibrated examination. There will be no rush, headlong, into impetuous reform. It will have to be examined quite carefully to see what are the proper contours and the proper balance between those who are elected decision makers and those who are not,’ he said.

Cox is widely expected to be shifted out in the government reshuffle tomorrow with Lucy Frazer QC tipped to take his place.

(Courtesy: Law Gazette Society)