The judiciary and Ministry of Justice have a longstanding shared ambition to create One Judiciary. The principal aim of One Judiciary is to bring the courts and tribunals closer together to make better use of resources and to demonstrate that judges, whether they sit in courts or tribunals, are part of a single judicial family.
We have made good progress towards this commitment, and now want to announce the next steps to this work.
We will increase opportunities for cross-deployment, removing barriers that prevent judges with appropriate authorisation from hearing different types of cases.
Building on the joint cross deployment and assignment policy published by the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals in June 2020, we will promote appropriate cross-deployment to its full potential. This will support judges’ career development, enabling them to broaden their skills in different areas of law. It will also improve our ability to deploy judges with the right expertise more flexibly to meet fluctuating caseloads and support the exchange of experience between jurisdictions. This supports our shared responsibility to provide timely access to justice and continuously to improve the efficiency of the administration of justice.
We will also promote an inclusive and collegiate culture throughout the courts and tribunals, while respecting and valuing the distinct identities of different jurisdictions and the expertise needed in each area of the law. In this way, One Judiciary will play an important role in promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the judiciary, ensuring that we draw on the widest possible pools of talent for judicial recruitment and promoting a working environment in which all judges have opportunities to progress, irrespective of personal or professional background.
Underpinning our next steps towards One Judiciary will be to work towards the creation of a unified leadership structure which will bring the tribunals together with the courts under the leadership of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. The Senior President of Tribunals will continue, through delegated powers, to provide leadership for the tribunals, with a role which has the standing of a Head of Division. Chamber and Tribunal Presidents will continue to lead their respective jurisdictions. This change to the role of the Senior President will require statutory change.
Many tribunals have jurisdiction throughout the United Kingdom and this reform will require careful consideration with regards to Scotland and Northern Ireland. The reserved tribunals judiciary will remain an important and valued part of the unified tribunals until the point of full devolution. Until then the role of Senior President of Tribunals will retain the statutory role as it is. We are working together with the Lord President in Scotland and Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland to ensure the interests of Scotland and Northern Ireland are fully protected and carefully preserved.
The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
The Rt Hon Lord Burnett of Maldon
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
The Rt Hon Sir Keith Lindblom
Senior President of Tribunals