Judicial appointments bill to be published within weeks
The government’s new Judicial Appointments Commission Bill is expected to be published by the end of next month, the Department of Justice has said.
Ministers agreed late last year to draft legislation replacing the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) with a new Judicial Appointments Commission chaired by the Chief Justice.
The new bill will differ from the highly controversial bill proposed in 2017 in that it proposes a smaller commission helmed by the Chief Justice rather than a lay chairperson.
Under the government’s Justice Plan 2021, the bill was due to be published by the end of March 2021. However, a mid-year progress update states that it is now “projected” to be published in the third quarter of the year.
According to the progress report, 132 of the 230 actions in the plan (71 per cent) have been “achieved”, while four per cent are on track. The remaining 25 per cent, including the publication of the bill in Q1 2021, are marked “not achieved”.
The establishment of a Mediation Council under the Mediation Act 2017, originally due to be completed by the end of June, is marked as “not achieved” and is now projected to be completed by the end of September.
The publication of a long-awaited statutory review of the Defamation Act 2009, originally due by the end of April, has also been delayed. The review has already been completed and is now due “to be published in Q3”.
A statutory review of the Personal Insolvency Acts 2012-2015, originally due to be completed by the end of June, is “largely complete and expected to be published in Q3”.
Commenting on the progress update, justice minister Heather Humphreys said: “We are moving at pace on our ambition to build a justice system that works for everyone, and deliver on our strategic goals and ambitions. I look forward to seeing and feeling the impact of this transformative work on the justice sector and the people who interact with it.
“I am pleased to report that of the 132 actions examined, 71 per cent or 93 are achieved. 2021 has not been without its challenges, and it has been necessary to readjust the timelines for some actions but I am confident these will be delivered soon.”