HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 c1025W
Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many judicial appointments she has made since taking up office; what criteria are used to select people suitable for judicial appointments; and how many judicial appointees she has made who are(a) women and (b) from ethnic backgrounds. [32582]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Drawing on information currently held on the judicial appointments database, we estimate that the Lord Chancellor has appointed or recommended for appointment a total of 15,703 judicial officers in the courts and tribunals, between 2 May 1997 and 31 January 2002. This figure includes full-time and part-time professional legal judicial officers and professional non-legal judicial officers (including first appointments and re-appointments), lay magistrates and General Commissioners of Income Tax. Of all these appointments, the database shows that 5,326 were women and 1,530 declared themselves as from minority ethnic backgrounds, with 2,953 appointments being of unknown ethnic origin.

The criteria and personal qualities against which candidates for judicial office are assessed are as follows:

Professional judicial appointment

Criteria Legal knowledge and experience, intellectual and analytical ability, sound judgment, decisiveness, communication and listening skills, authority and case management skills.

Personal qualities Integrity and independence, fairness and impartiality, understanding of people and society, maturity and sound temperament, courtesy and commitment, conscientiousness and diligence.

Lay magistracy

Personal qualities Good character, understanding and communication, social awareness, maturity and sound temperament, sound judgment, commitment and reliability.

General Commissioners of Income Tax

Personal qualities expected include: Good reputation, personal integrity, a manner which inspires confidence, the ability to identify and comprehend relevant facts reasonably quickly, the ability to think logically, ability to communicate effectively, the ability to advance views firmly but tactfully, combined with a readiness to listen to and take on board others' views, the ability to work with others, awareness of personal prejudices and readiness to put them aside, the ability to reach a decision reasonably quickly having weighed all relevant evidence and arguments, some experience, understanding or knowledge of life outside the candidate's own immediate circle of family and work.