HC Deb 29 November 2000 vol 357 cc708-10W
Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many solicitors have been appointed as judges in each year since 1990. [140497]

Jane Kennedy

The following tables give the numbers of solicitors appointed to the main full-time and part-time judicial offices since 1990. The first table provides the figures which are readily available for appointments in the calendar years 1990 to 1996 inclusive. The second table provides the figures for appointments for the last three complete financial years. A further table gives the statistics for those judges in the same categories appointed between 1 April and 31 October 2000. Of all appointments in the main open competition in 1999–2000, 46.6 per cent. were of solicitors.

3. Appointments 1 April 2000 to 31 October 2000
Total Solicitors
High Court Judges 11 1
Circuit Judges1 8 6
District Judges2,3 3 2
1Candidates who were interviewed in the competitions in 1999–2000, were originally on the reserve list, and were subsequently appointed. The total figures for those who have taken up post since 1 April 2000 are, therefore, the figures in table 2 plus those in table 3.
2 Including Family Division

Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if, prior to being appointed as a judge, a solicitor is required to have sat as a recorder. [140470]

Jane Kennedy

The statutory qualifications for appointment as a Circuit Judge (under s.16(3) of the Courts Act 1971 as subsequently amended) are:

i. to have a 10 year general qualification within the meaning of s.71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (i.e. a right of audience in the Crown Court or county court); or

ii. to be a Recorder; or

iii. to have held for three years one of the judicial posts specified in Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act.

The Lord Chancellor's general policy is to expect candidates for appointment who meet one of the other two statutory requirements to have served as a Recorder but he operates this policy flexibly in the light of particular circumstances.

Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what specific training a qualified solicitor will have to undertake prior to taking up an appointment as a judge. [140498]

Mr. Lock

Judicial training is the responsibility of the Judicial Studies Board (JSB), an independent non-departmental public body which is chaired by Lord Justice Waller.

Solicitors may be appointed to a variety of judicial offices and the training provided by the JSB is specific to each one. It is normally a requirement for an individual to have served in a part-time judicial capacity before being appointed to a permanent judicial office. In general, anyone appointed to a part-time office must attend a four or five day induction course run by the JSB, and undertake a period of sitting-in with an experienced judge before sitting judicially for the first time. Thereafter, all full and part-time judges receive continuation training from the JSB, in each of the jurisdictions that they exercise, every three years.