In the Media

Judicial appointment reforms ?sideline? Wales

PUBLISHED September 24, 2012

Tuesday 25 September 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

Coalition plans to abolish permanent Welsh representation in the judicial appointments process will lead to an even more 'England-centric judiciary', Wales' top lawyer has warned.

The government proposes scrapping the requirement for a Welsh commissioner on the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) as part of a drive to reduce the remit of the JAC and the number of its commissioners.

However, Theodore Huckle QC, counsel general for Wales, says in a letter to new justice secretary Chris Grayling that the changes, part of the Crime and Courts Bill currently before parliament, are a step backwards.

He said: 'Now that we have a separate legislature with primary legislative powers, and in view of our status as a devolved nation, it is vital that Welsh interests are represented in the appointment process.

'We are concerned that greater influence by the UK government will result in an even more England-centric judiciary rather than - as we would wish - a move towards a more diverse judiciary that included recognition of a "Welsh judiciary" that was representative of Wales and of Welsh interests.'