Part-time judges plan could help improve diversity

All
judges below High Court level will soon be able to work part-time under new
government plans.

As
part of its drive to increase judicial diversity, the Department for
Constitutional Affairs (DCA) announced that from 1 April 2005, all new and
existing salaried appointments below High Court level will be suitable for
part-time sitting unless the nature of the office or business needs dictate
otherwise.

Salaried
part-time sitting has previously been limited to new appointments at District
Judge (Civil) and Tribunal level. Today’s announcement will extend it to County
Court, Magistrates Court and Crown Court level.

There
are about 1,450 judicial posts in DCA courts and tribunals to which the policy
will apply.

Constitutional
affairs secretary Lord Falconer said: "Part-time sitting will help make
judicial office more attractive to a wider field of candidates. It is a means
of enabling individuals who cannot, or choose not to, commit to a full-time
post to serve the judiciary.

"It
is a very positive step towards the wider strategy of increasing diversity by
removing the barriers that inhibit individuals from considering judicial
appointment,” he said.

By Michael Millar

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