Here comes the judge

scales-of-justice2We will maintain a just and impartial judiciary. Judges must be non-political and independent but also accountable. If people are to trust the legal system and respect the judiciary it is important that judges at every level behave with honesty and integrity. They must be free from scandal in their private lives and not bring the legal system in to disrepute. They must also be exemplary, without ideological bias, even handed and fairly apply the rules in their public lives.

Unfortunately, some judges cannot meet these high standards and some have a poor professional record in terms of their judgements. These are the ones who are repeatedly appealed and have their judgements overturned. Some of them should be sacked, but this is a difficult and impossible outcome. Because of the need for them to be independent from the Executive and Legislature they are unaccountable and untouchable.

In the Resurgence party programme we promote Constitutional reform based on a genuine and real separation of the powers of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The New Labour Government at the fag end of its period of power is effecting the separation of the Judiciary by removing the Law Lords from the House of Lords which in addition to its legislative function is also the highest appellant Court in the Land. In a short while it will be replaced by the Supreme Court of Justice with its own and separate Court building.

Job done? No, there is also the matter of who is to appoint the judiciary. We do not want them to be politicised or elected by the people. The process of appointment must be of a much higher standard than that for other public appointments. Cronyism is to be avoided at all costs and the Executive must be excluded from the process. The only role for the Executive is the provision of pay and rations.

In making appointments it might be necessary for candidates to be more rigorously vetted, undergo psychological testing and demonstrate the gift of wisdom. There will also need to be a process for removing them from office. We do not want the Legislature to carry out any of these functions.

The solution would be for the Head of State to have responsibility for these matters. This assumes that the Head of State is separate from the Head of Government. A Head of State/Monarch acclaimed by the people in a referendum and themselves removable by the people would be the servant of the people. In effect the people would be appointing the judiciary by proxy.

No system is perfect, but this is probably the best that could be achieved.

What do you think? All constructive comments will be carefully considered.


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