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Constitutional Reform Act 2005

Section 133: Removal from most senior judicial offices

355.Section 133 inserts a new section 12B in the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 to make provision for the removal of senior judicial office holders in Northern Ireland. Her Majesty may remove the Lord Chief Justice, a Lord Justice of Appeal or a High Court judge on an address presented by both Houses of Parliament. A motion for the presentation of an address may be made to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister and to the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor or, of the Lord Chancellor is not a member of that House, by another Minister of the Crown at his request. However, a motion for the presentation of an address can be made only if a removals tribunal convened under section 135 of the Act (see below) has reported to the Lord Chancellor recommending removal on the ground of misbehaviour. The report must be laid before each House of Parliament. Subsection (6) of the new section 12B provides for the suspension of a senior judicial office holder while the making of motions for the presentation of an address is under consideration. The Prime Minister may suspend the Lord Chief Justice. A Lord Justice of Appeal or a High Court judge may be suspended by the Prime Minister with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.

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