Don’t count on judicial appointments Bill

 

Sir, – I am grateful to Harry McGee for reporting some of my concerns about the seriously flawed and unnecessarily complex Judicial Appointments Commission Bill that is now before the Seanad (Home News, June 25th). Just one correction – section 10 of the Bill expressly prescribes the appointment of 13 members to the Commission whilst also expressly providing for the making of 16 appointments to it. This is a difficult concept to fully grasp.

The lawyer appointees are to be five members of the judiciary, a barrister and solicitor nominated by their representative bodies and the Attorney General, a total of eight. The lay (non-lawyer) members are to be a chairperson, a non-lawyer nominated by the Human Rights and Equality Commission and six others recommended by the Public Appointments Service, also a total of eight. When I was at school that made a total of 16 all together. But there is another problem in achieving clarity.

Shane Ross and Government spokespeople have lauded the Commission as having 17 members with “a lay majority”, the great unproven merit of the Bill apparently being that it will have more people on it who lack legal expertise than who have such expertise and that the role of the judiciary is diminished. The problem – eight plus eight in my world still only adds up to 16, not 17 and certainly not 13!

Mr Ross has been praising the Bill as being no longer a dog’s dinner but a plate of caviar. Perhaps in the alternative reality of this post-truth world he is right? It is, however, a plate of caviar I would not serve up to my dog, if I had one. – Yours, etc,

ALAN SHATTER,

Dublin 16.