European supervisor criticizes plan to select judges

A proposed new system for appointing judges has been criticized by a European watchdog for democracy and the rule of law as it “could lead to politicized decisions”.

The Group of States against Corruption (Greco), a body of the Council of Europe, has identified the failure to prioritize candidates as a key weakness of the proposed law.

The Judicial Appointments Commission’s Bill of 2022 has been described by Attorney General Helen McEntee as the biggest reform of judicial elections in a quarter century.

However, parts of the bill were criticized by Greco in a report published today.

The group, which oversees corruption prevention measures in relation to MPs, judges and prosecutors, said it was concerned the government would receive an “unprioritized” list of candidates from a new advisory commission.

The Cabinet is free to nominate candidates from this list for appointment by the President.

However, Greco said the lack of rankings among the proposed candidates could lead to politicized decisions.

The group also lobbied for the composition of the advisory commission, to be composed of an equal number of judges and lay people and to be chaired by the Chief Justice.

Greco said that while this is better than a previous proposal for a lay majority, an advisory commission made up of a majority of judges would be “an appropriate composition”.

The Council of Europe has previously recommended that such an independent authority should come to a significant extent from the judiciary.

It’s unclear whether the criticism will lead to changes to the bill at this point.

Efforts to reform judicial appointments have been underway for several years.

According to the draft law, candidates must undergo interviews for the first time.

Currently, an advisory board can propose up to seven candidates for a vacancy, but the number is reduced to three. European supervisor criticizes plan to select judges

Fry Electronics Team

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