consultation about proposed changes to the system for appointing Justices of the Peace. Serving as a J.P. is a very important way in which the layman can contribute to the administration of justice. The Lord Chief Justice has recently said - "The largest part of the judiciary is formed by the magistracy. The 29,000 or so Justices of the Peace who sit in magistrates’ courts deal with more than 95 per cent of all criminal cases, as well as a significant proportion of family cases. The administration of justice in England and Wales would collapse without the contribution made by men and women volunteering to serve their local communities. I believe society owes them a huge debt and I am not sure that their value is always appreciated" - Lord Chief Justice's Review of the Administration of Justice in the Courts.
Ministry of Justice News Release and the Panel Report.
For a view on this report see "Mr Justice Elephant in the Room" at CharonQC's blog.
I have long thought that the advent of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom would start a process which will end up with some form of "Confirmation Hearings" before someone can be appointed as a Justice. The excellent Supreme Court blog carries an item on this very issue.