Sir, – The new Judicial Appointments Bill is currently under debate. The Bill establishes a commission that will nominate judges to the Minister for appointment . The glaring omission from this commission is a member of the solicitor profession.
As a solicitor advocate before the superior courts for over 20 years, I can attest to the outstanding intellectual capacity of our judiciary and the largely unappreciated breadth of consideration they give in making daily determinations.
However, there is a latent issue that exists on the current benches and that is the absence of diversity. While our judiciary maintain a stellar pedigree, they are not as diverse as the society over which they deliberate. The solitary building of the Four Courts cannot be the only fertile harvesting ground for judicial candidates. The one notable bridge to diversity, namely the solicitors’ profession, is alarmingly absent from the selection process. As the largest profession, with a formidable knowledge of law and perhaps more importantly a genuine link to the public, this seems a fatal flaw.
We cannot let the blinkers of legal tradition blind our peripheral view of wider society. The commission must focus on delivering the best candidates and not create needless barriers to inclusion in that process. – Yours, etc,
GRAHAM P KENNY,
Principal Kenny Solicitors,