Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation2002 c. 26


Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

2002 Chapter 26

An Act to make provision about the judiciary in Northern Ireland and to amend section 6 of the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876; to make provision about the law officers and other legal officers and the courts in Northern Ireland; to establish a Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland, a Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland and a Northern Ireland Law Commission; to amend the law of youth justice in Northern Ireland; to make provision for making available to victims of crime information about the release of offenders in Northern Ireland; to make provision about community safety in Northern Ireland; to amend the law of legal aid in Northern Ireland; and for connected purposes.

[24th July 2002]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 The judiciary

Part 1

The judiciary

General

General

S-1 Guarantee of continued judicial independence

1 Guarantee of continued judicial independence

Those with responsibility for the administration of justice must uphold the continued independence of the judiciary.

Appointment and removal

Appointment and removal

S-2 Introductory

2 Introductory

(1) Sections 3 to 8 make provision about appointment to and removal from—

(a) the offices of Lord Chief Justice and Lord Justice of Appeal, and

(b) the offices listed in Schedule 1.

(2) The First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly, may by order amend Schedule 1 by—

(a) adding an office (other than the office of Lord Chief Justice or Lord Justice of Appeal),

(b) omitting an office, or

(c) altering the description of an office.

(3) No order under subsection (2) may be made without the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.

(4) An order under subsection (2) may make appropriate consequential amendments in any enactment or instrument (whenever passed or made).

(5) In this Act—

‘listed judicial office’ means an office listed in Schedule 1, and

‘protected judicial office’ means the office of Lord Chief Justice, the office of Lord Justice of Appeal or a listed judicial office.

S-3 Judicial Appointments Commission

3 Judicial Appointments Commission

(1) There is to be a body corporate known as the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission.

(2) The Commission is to consist of—

(a) a chairman, and

(b) twelve other members appointed by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly.

(3) Schedule 2 makes further provision about the Commission.

(4) The Lord Chief Justice is to be the chairman of the Commission; but for any time during which—

(a) the office of Lord Chief Justice is vacant, or

(b) he is not available,

the senior Lord Justice of Appeal who is available is to act as the chairman (whether or not he is already a member).

(5) The following are to be appointed as the other members—

(a) five persons nominated by the Lord Chief Justice (referred to in this section and Schedule 2 as ‘judicial members’),

(b) a barrister nominated by the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland and a solicitor nominated by the Law Society of Northern Ireland (so referred to as ‘legal profession members’), and

(c) five persons who do not hold (and have never held) a protected judicial office and are not (and have never been) barristers or solicitors (so referred to as ‘lay members’);

and a reference in Schedule 2 to a non-judicial member is to a member who is either a legal profession member or a lay member.

(6) The judicial members are to be—

(a) a Lord Justice of Appeal,

(b) a judge of the High Court,

(c) a county court judge,

(d) a resident magistrate, and

(e) a lay magistrate.

(7) A person may not be appointed to be a lay member unless he has declared in writing his commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

(8) In appointing persons to be lay members, the First Minister and deputy First Minister must so far as possible secure that the lay members (taken together) are representative of the community in Northern Ireland.

S-4 Appointment to most senior judicial offices

4 Appointment to most senior judicial offices

For section 12 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (c. 23) (appointment of Lord Chief Justice, Lords Justices of Appeal and judges of High Court) substitute—

S-12 Appointment of Lord Chief Justice and Lords Justices of Appeal

12 Appointment of Lord Chief Justice and Lords Justices of Appeal

‘12 Appointment of Lord Chief Justice and Lords Justices of Appeal

(1) Whenever the office of Lord Chief Justice is vacant, Her Majesty may, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoint a qualified person to that office by letters patent under the Great Seal of Northern Ireland.

(2) Her Majesty may from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoint a qualified person as a Lord Justice of Appeal by letters patent under the Great Seal of Northern Ireland (but subject to the limit on numbers for the time being imposed by section 3).

(3) The power of the Prime Minister to make recommendations under subsections (1) and (2) is exercisable only after consultation with—

(a) the First Minister and deputy First Minister; and

(b) the Lord Chief Justice or, if the office of Lord Chief Justice is vacant or he is not available, the senior Lord Justice of Appeal who is available.

(4) The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission shall give to the First Minister and deputy First Minister advice as to the procedure which, whenever they are consulted by the Prime Minister under subsection (3)(a), they should adopt for formulating their response to him.

(5) After considering that advice, the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly shall, with the approval of the Prime Minister, determine the procedure which, whenever they are consulted by the Prime Minister under subsection (3)(a), they are to adopt for formulating their response to him; and on each occasion on which they are so consulted, they shall adopt that procedure.

S-12A

12A

12A Appointment of judges of High Court

Her Majesty may from time to time, on the recommendation of the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly, appoint a qualified person as a judge of the High Court by letters patent under the Great Seal of Northern Ireland (but subject to the limit on numbers for the time being imposed by section 2).’

S-5 Appointment to listed judicial offices

5 Appointment to listed judicial offices

(1) Schedule 3 transfers to the First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly, the power to make appointments, or recommendations for appointment, to listed judicial offices and makes provision about associated functions.

(2) Only a person selected by the Commission may be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to a listed judicial office.

(3) The First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly, may at any time by notice require the Commission to select a person to be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to a listed judicial office.

(4) When the Commission is so required, it must—

(a) inform the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister of the person selected to be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to the office, and

(b) make a report to that Office on its process of selection, indicating the basis of its decision to select that person.

(5) If the First Minister and deputy First Minister do not (within a reasonable time after receiving the report under subsection (4)(b)) appoint or recommend for appointment the person selected by the Commission, they must by notice require the Commission to reconsider its decision; and the notice must include a statement of their reasons for requiring it to do so.

(6) If the Commission is required to reconsider its decision, it must—

(a) after doing so, either re-affirm its selection or select a different person to be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to the office,

(b) inform the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister of the outcome of its reconsideration, and

(c) make a report to that Office indicating the basis of the decision made by it after its reconsideration.

(7) The First Minister and deputy First Minister must, on being informed by the Commission of the outcome of the reconsideration of its decision, appoint, or recommend for appointment, the person selected by the Commission after the reconsideration.

(8) The Commission must, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, secure that a range of persons reflective of the community in Northern Ireland is available for consideration by the Commission whenever it is required to select a person to be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to a listed judicial office.

(9) But the selection of the person to be appointed, or recommended for appointment, to the listed judicial office (whether initially or after reconsideration) must be made solely on the basis of merit.

S-6 Removal from most senior judicial offices

6 Removal from most senior judicial offices

After section 12A of the...

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