Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do You Want to Be a Member of the New U.K. Supreme Court?

Sorry, but it’s too late. As the I-CONnect blog tells us:

I regret to inform you, should you have been interested in applying for one of the three upcoming vacancies on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, that the deadline has passed.  Applications were due at 5pm on October 30.   The Selection Commission will hold interviews for leading candidates later this week.

Here’s more information:

The appointments process, like the Supreme Court itself, is a creation of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (Reform Act). In 2003, in the name of judicial independence, the Blair Government decided to remove the country’s highest court from the House of Lords and form a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.  The Court opened for business in October 2009, taking up residence in its own building on Parliament Square.  But what does it mean to be a “Supreme Court” within a parliamentary system in which parliamentary sovereignty remains the orthodoxy?  What is the Court’s role in the constitutional order?

First – the application. In a manner not unfamiliar to an American college student, the application requires the submission of: a CV, two references, and a personal statement, describing how the applicant meets the stated criteria for the job.  If the applicant is a serving judge, she also must “submit copies of three judgments only” that she believes “demonstrate [her] judicial qualities” and explain “why these judgments are of interest and importance.”  And all applicants are “asked to complete a diversity and equality questionnaire.”

In addition to statutory prerequisites, the stated criteria for appointment run from the obvious – “knowledge and experience of the law” – to the expected: good writing skills, ability to work under pressure, and collegiality.  The list is rounded out by requirements for:  “social awareness and understanding of the contemporary world”; “a significant capacity for analyzing and exploring a range of legal problems creatively and flexibly”; and “vision, coupled with an appreciation of the role of the Court in contributing to the development of the law.”

The blog posting offers more insight into the Court’s nature and the conflicting policies underlying its nature.


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