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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Section 4: Appointment to most senior judicial offices

16.This section replaces section 12 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978. It requires the Prime Minister to consult the First Minister and deputy First Minister and the Lord Chief Justice (or the senior Lord Justice of Appeal in his absence) before making recommendations to Her Majesty The Queen as to who should fill the posts of Lord Chief Justice and Lords Justices of Appeal. As recommended by the Review (para 6.109), new section 12(4) provides for the Commission to advise the First Minister and deputy First Minister over the procedure they should adopt for formulating their response to the Prime Minister. This procedure will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval (new section 12(5)).

17.Section 4 also amends the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 to provide that the First Minister and deputy First Minister must advise Her Majesty The Queen on appointments to the post of High Court judge based on the Commission’s recommendation (new section 12A and section 5(2)).

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