Friday, 30 March 2012

A report, a consultation and an important job vacancy

Home Affairs Committee - report on the US-UK Extradition Treaty  in the conclusion section the committee states:

The Committee is proposing significant changes to the extradition arrangements between the US and the UK not because we are critical of the American justice system but because we recognise the importance of robust extradition arrangements between our two countries. Such extradition arrangements are now threatened by loss of public confidence in the UK and there is a risk that, with time, that lack of confidence will translate into wider disaffection. We believe that the Government should act now to restore public faith in the Treaty by rebalancing the requirements for the provision of information, urgently opening negotiations about the re-introduction of an evidence test, and introducing a forum bar. The Committee believes that these changes will allow for a fair and balanced system of justice between the US and the UK as regards extradition.


Ministry of Justice - Consultation: Punishment and Reform - Effective Community Sentences  - The consultation is open to 22nd June 2012.

 This consultation sets out
proposals for radical reforms to the way in which sentences served in the community operate. Victims and society have a right to expect that wrongdoing results in punishment, and that they will be protected from further reoffending. Ultimately our goal must be to reduce crime and see fewer victims.


Selection Commission for the next President of the Supreme Court of the U.K.   The advertisement states - "The selection commission is anxious to attract applications from the widest field, including candidates who are not already Justices of the Supreme Court. The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate, in addition to the judicial qualities of a Supreme Court Justice, the ability to give outstanding leadership and to represent the Court in a wide range of circumstances.

The statutory minimum qualification for appointment is to have held high judicial office for a period of at least two years, or to have satisfied the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 15-year basis or to have been a qualifying practitioner for a period of at least 15 years. In making its recommendation the selection commission will have regard to the requirements under section 27 of the Act that a selection must be on merit, and that the commission must “ensure that between them the Judges will have knowledge of, and experience of practice in, the law of each part of the United Kingdom.”

This raises the possibility of a lawyer leap-frogging straight to the Presidency of the Court.  Interesting !!


  1. It's an increasingly important job, as the SC really gets its teeth into the task of providing high-quality guidance on difficult areas of law (public and private). But whom would one support. Lord Neuberger is certainly a clever man, but very much a judicial conservative. Within a short space of time the retirements of Lords Phillips, Hope, Brown (next week) and Walker will leave Lady hale as the longest-serving JSC. She would certainly be a controversial choice. Lord Mance would probably not like the high-profile PR bits. Lord Kerr is the current NI representative, and for that reason unlikely to be seriously considered.Maybe Lord Clark, a former MR who seemed to me to do well in that job. Of the newer justices, Dyson and wilson would be interesting choices, especially Wilson. Sumption and Reed are too new in post to be serious candidates. If they skip a generation and go for someone younger, which probably means someone not yet a JSC, then the field s wider, but that would be a risky appointment. I await the outcome of this with interest.

    1. Yes, this will be interesting and may well be the last time that a President is chosen by the present appointments commission process. In fact, it may be the only time that a President has been chosen this way since Lord Phillips merely moved across from the House of Lords.

      I am pleased that you picked up what should be a key element in this decision - that is, the ability of the appointee to lead the court with all that entails. This is not merely a legal skill though the appointee will need to be very astute to ensure that appropriate panels are assigned the hear the various cases.

      I suspect that if Lord Neuberger MR applies then he will be the one most likely to get this post.

      Joshua Rozenberg's comments on the process were also interesting - here

  2. It will be interesting to see if the 'significant changes' to the extradition arrangements between the US and the UK will resolve the case of Khalid Al Fawwaz (reportedly Bin Laden's 'London Press Officer'), arrested in the summer of 1998.

    Somehow, I think not.... the political/spook exegesis prevails over justice every time.

  3. [The ECHR] Decides to continue to indicate to the Government under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court that it is desirable in the interests of the proper conduct of the proceedings that the applicants should not be extradited until further notice....

    & so it goes...