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Judicial Appointments Commission

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) originally estimated cost and (b) actual cost was of the research recently commissioned by the Judicial Appointments Commission from the British Market Research Bureau on barriers to application to the judiciary. (296098)

The cost of the research, which was competitively tendered, was £83,556 and the original estimate was £89,300. Both figures are inclusive of irrecoverable VAT.

The JAC has a statutory duty to have regard to the need to increase diversity in the range of persons available for selection for judicial appointment.

The main research aims were to:

Investigate perceived barriers which may be preventing applications

How removal of barriers would increase applications

How barriers affected different groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of applications to the Judicial Appointments Commission were from (a) male, (b) female and (c) black and minority ethnic candidates in each of the last three years. (296101)

The figures in the table relate to applications to the Judicial Appointments Commission for vacancies for the High Court and below.

Applications

Percentage

Number

2006-07

Male

59

348

Female

41

238

BME

9

50

2007-08

Male

65

1,644

Female

35

891

BME

13

328

2008-09

Male

69

2,434

Female

31

1,080

BME

12

430

The year 2006-07 is regarded as a transitional period as far as the published data are concerned because during that period the former Department for Constitutional Affairs completed a number of exercises that were launched before the JAC was created in April 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are used (a) for him to be informed about and (b) to monitor the work of the Judicial Appointments Commission. (296113)

The mechanisms used to inform and monitor the work of the Judicial Appointments Commission are set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and the Framework Document that determines the relationship between the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Appointments Commission. They include:

Approving the JAC’s strategic objectives and targets together with the policy and performance framework in which the JAC will operate;

Approving the amount of grant in aid that the JAC receives;

Laying the JAC’s Annual Report before Parliament and;

Considering and making decisions on JAC selections for judicial appointment.

A copy of the Framework Document can be found on the Commission’s website at:

http://www.judicialappointments.gov.uk

I meet Baroness Prashar, Chairman of the Commission, and my senior officials from time to time to discuss the work of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many times he has met the Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission in each of the last three years. (296114)