What We Do

The Belfast Agreement (1998) provided for a wide-ranging review of criminal justice in Northern Ireland.

The establishment of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission flows from the Criminal Justice Review, which recommended a better way of appointing judges by giving responsibility for identifying the best candidate to an independent Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC).

The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission has five key roles:

  • To conduct the appointments process and make recommendations to the Lord Chancellor in respect of all listed judicial appointments up to and including High Court Judge.
  • To recommend candidates solely on the basis of merit.
  • To engage in a programme of action to secure, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, that appointments to judicial office are such that those holding such offices are reflective of the community in Northern Ireland.
  • To engage in a programme of action to secure, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, that a range of persons reflective of the community in Northern Ireland is available for consideration by the Commission whenever it is required to select a person to be appointed, or recommended for appointments, to a listed judicial office.
  • To publish an annual report setting out the activities and accounts for the past year.

Specific roles and responsibilities
The Commission staff are responsible for the management and development of the following areas of work:

  • The Appointments Process
Ensuring all aspects of the appointments process is compliant with employment legislation and adopting Human Resources best practice to enhance public confidence in the appointment of judicial office holders in Northern Ireland.

It is important to note that the Commission only selects and recommends individuals who are suitable for judicial office. The appointing body is the Northern Ireland Court Service.

  • Diversity and Communications
Ensuring that the appointments process is communicated to the widest possible pool of potential candidates and that no-one is discriminated against on the grounds of the gender, marital status, race, age, sexual orientation, community background, disability dependant responsibilities or political opinion.
  • Governance of the Commission
Ensuring that all accountability functions of the Commission (both financial and legal) are carried out in a professional manner and that all statutory responsibilities are fulfilled.