One of the reasons Great Britain is known all over the world owing to its powerful legal system. The British system of Law differs from the most of the systems of law due to not having a constitution. But this fact does not make the functioning of the legal system less productive and effective. The control over the legal system of the country is put on the shoulders of two main government departments: the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Home Office. They cope with their work with the help of other minor government agencies. As every country Great Britain has its very own court system. Britain’s court system is managed by one of the mentioned government departments – the Department for Constitutional Affairs. This Department is in charge of governing the whole court system of the country, including such procedures as the appointment of the judges.
It is a matter of common knowledge that there are two types of judges in Great Britain: inferior and superior judges. The main distinction between these two types of judges is the field of their jurisdiction separated with their position to the High Court. All the judges with the jurisdiction lower than the High Court are inferior judges. The person who is directly related to appointment of these judges is the Lord Chancellor. Basing on the type of judges he deals with, the Lord Chancellor plays either a direct or an indirect role in their appointment. Nevertheless, the distinction between the parts he plays in appointing superior or inferior judges are not exact antipodes.
The Lord Chancellor, the head of the House of Lords, directly appoints the inferior judges. He is the person who possesses the information about the activity of the candidates for the posts and provides this information to the Queen. Therefore as the role of Queen has a character of a formality his recommendations are the defining and the weightiest information for the appointment. Inferior judges include: Recorders and District and Circuit judges. The appointment of an inferior judge may be the result of a promotion or the sufficient practice of the professional in this field. All of these judges require 10 years of practice in the legal field if the appointment is not a promotion.
The Lord Chancellor also can dismiss an inferior judge at any time having information about any discipline violation. The candidates for becoming judges are selected from the data files of the Lord Chancellor and after being selected they pass through an interview to occupy the post. The Lord Chancellor can make academic lawyers candidates for the post if they have the correct number of years of experience. Inferior judges deal with the cases on fraud, negligence, libel, violation of contract, divorce, etc. Heavy violations of these sand other matters; of matter of a greater scale, become the jurisdiction of the superior judges.
Superior judges are judges with a jurisdiction within the High Court. Superior judges include: High Court Judges, Lord Justices of Appeal and Law Lords. To get the post it is required to have a 15 years practice in the legal field. It can be also a direct promotion, too. The main decision of appointing a superior judge is taken by the Prime Minister, the head of the House of Commons. Nevertheless this decision has a base in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor gives his recommendations and advice to the Prime Minister, who in his turn usually follows this advice rarely making any exceptions. The Primer Minister than performs the candidates to the Queen and the choice is made. An inferior judge can also become a superior judge, a High Court Judge in particular, having a 2-year practice being an inferior judge.
Lord Chancellor deals with every single judge appointment with a bigger or lesser influence. Though the decision of appointing a superior judge is not literally made by him, his recommendations are essential for the choice. This makes him the leading person in relation to the process of appointing judges of different levels. It must be said that this fact has always been highly criticized due to the insufficiency of the possible choices, because the people who chose are usually related to the selected candidates.
Of course it is obvious that this way of choosing is the result of a conviction in the high moral values and experience of the candidates, nevertheless it keeps the positions closed for another people working in the legal system. High quality of judiciary is to be obtained through a diversity of people who judge. In 1990 the Lord Chancellor approved The Courts and Legal Service Act, according to which academic lawyers could become inferior judges. But step to this high-quality judiciary was fully first made in 1994 with the Lord Chancellor removing the ban for lawyers to become judges. By these decisions a very important way was opened. It is the way of complete objectivity of judgment. As the majority of the judges have always been men it was a step to giving women career opportunities for women, too. The system stopped being a subject to the accusation of racism: it started being opened to the minorities. Also the introduction of the part-time judging gave a possibility to obtain the position of a fulltime judge after getting sufficient experience as a part-time judge.
The court system is becoming more flexible and after this changes it became dynamic. It is understood that judges over 55 can carry the values and views on law of completely different times that makes the objective judgment impossible. This diversity of judges is giving productive results making the judiciary system more qualified. Superior and inferior judges are the ones that create this quality; therefore, their right appointment is very important.
Analyzing the procedure of appointing both of them reveals that there is no principle difference between these two procedures. The difference lies only in the jurisdiction; the jurisdiction in its turn is the same but in a smaller of greater scale. The positions require different number years of practice. The Lord Chancellor basically manages the whole process of selection. The Lord Chancellor, sometimes with the approval of the Prime Minister, selects both of the groups of judges. Other words, the difference in the appointment of these judges is formal. They fulfill the same duties in from of the face of the court system of the Great Britain. Therefore there should not be even a formal difference between the way inferior and superior judges are appointed. Inferior judges are just a little step before the superior judges and are two parts of one integer. They both should possess the same combination of qualities and the level of knowledge to become a judge. There is no further need for the maintenance of the distinction that exists. An inferior judge is to posses the same “luggage of knowledge” as a superior judge, but the only difference is the years and the practice thought which this knowledge is improved. The distinction in appointing inferior and superior judges is not principle and if the legal system takes it into account it may be the way of an even more dynamic court development. The juridical system of Great Britain is working hard on making the system more unadulterated and independent. Judicial independence, autonomy and objectivity still remain the primary goals of the British Law System.
Changes are always hard for any country, especially if we a talking about a country that respects monarchy and is a constitutional monarchy. Nevertheless, Britain’s legal system can be improved in order to achieve its most effective functioning.
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