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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002


9.The Review recommended a number of changes to the appointment, removal and structure of the judiciary in Northern Ireland. The current arrangements revolve around the role of the Lord Chancellor – he is responsible for making or advising on all judicial appointments in Northern Ireland, has responsibility for removing judges up to Supreme Court level on grounds of incapacity or misbehaviour and holds the pivotal position as the head of all tiers of the judiciary in Northern Ireland. There is the need to secure a transparent process for appointment and removal following devolution and to replace the Lord Chancellor with the Lord Chief Justice as head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland. Other changes which are explained below include broadening of eligibility criteria for appointments and a new oath. More information on the current system and recommended changes can be found in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Review.

Section 1: Guarantee of continued judicial independence

10.This section places those with responsibility for the administration of justice in Northern Ireland under a duty to uphold the continued independence of the judiciary, regardless of what structures might be put in place for administering justice matters in the future.

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