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European Court of Justice

Volume 541: debated on Tuesday 28 February 2012

7. What progress has been made in selecting a replacement for the UK’s judge at the European Court of Justice, following the end of the incumbent’s appointment in 2012. (96693)

We expect to be in a position to nominate a candidate for this position within the next month. The successful candidate should be able to take up the position when the term of the incumbent judge expires later this year.

Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia involve their national Parliaments in the process of selecting the judges whom they send to the ECJ. Given the power that the ECJ can have on this country’s legal system, what plans does my right hon. Friend have to involve the House in any future appointments?

We have improved the nomination procedure by advertising the position publicly and subjecting applicants to interview by an independent panel of experts, prior to ministerial clearance. My hon. Friend raises a legitimate point. As things stand, parliamentary decisions on this matter are inconsistent with existing constitutional practice in the United Kingdom, and any change to the current procedure would, of course, set a precedent with wider implications. That can be debated in the House. I am conscious of the interest that the House takes and commit to keeping it updated on the progress made.