History of the Judicial Appointments Commission

The creation of the JAC was an important move towards greater separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, and a significant step forward for the constitution and the Country.

In 2003 the Government announced its intention to change the system for making appointments to judicial offices in England and Wales. The reform was an important step towards strengthening the drive to officially enshrine judicial independence in law, enhancing accountability and ensuring greater public confidence.

Lord Falconer, then Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, asserted that it was no longer acceptable for judicial appointments to be entirely in the hands of a Government Minister.

Accordingly, he announced the Government’s intention to establish an independent Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) to recommend candidates for judicial appointments on a more transparent basis.

Following extensive consultation, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA) received Royal Assent in March 2005. The Act enshrined in law the independence of the judiciary and radically changed the way Judges are appointed.

As a result of the Act, the JAC was formally established on 3 April 2006.

Under the CRA, the JAC’s statutory duties are to:

  • select candidates solely on merit
  • select only people of good character
  • have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for judicial selection

The judicial appointments for which the JAC makes selections are set out in Schedule 14 to the CRA.

Constitutional Reform Act 2005

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