Wales

Welsh Supreme Court judge 'should be considered'

Supreme Court in London Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Supreme Court currently consists of 11 men and one woman

Appointing a Welsh justice to the Supreme Court should be considered in the near future, a report has said.

Jenny Rowe, chief executive of the Supreme Court, the UK's highest court, has written a review of the selection commission that chooses new justices.

There are two justices from Scotland and one from Northern Ireland.

"As the body of Welsh law increases I believe that... will require consideration of the appointment of a Welsh justice," said Ms Rowe.

The review said the current pragmatic solution was to bring in an acting judge "who is seen as Welsh for any cases which come from Wales".

The Supreme Court consists of 12 justices and when a vacancy arises, a selection commission is set up to make an appointment.

The next justice due to retire is Lord Toulson, who will stand down in September 2016, followed by a further five in 2018.

The mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices is 70 if they started after 1993 or 75 if they started before.

Image caption The Supreme Court is the UK's highest court

To be eligible, an individual must either have been a High Court judge for two years or a practising lawyer for at least 15 years.

The Constitutional Reform Act requires the selection commission to "ensure that between them the judges will have knowledge of, and experience of practice in, the law of each part of the United Kingdom".

Ms Rowe said this is something the next commission will have to take into account "at an early stage of its deliberations and before a vacancy is advertised".

However, the review points out that some people believe geographical diversity should not be prioritised over other forms of diversity.

A spokesman for First Minister Carwyn Jones said the proposal for a Welsh Supreme Court judge was "long overdue" and the Welsh government had long supported the idea.

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