Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)
David Norris (Independent)
These amendments are all more or less the same. They all insert the word "experience". It is the only thing they do. I completely agree with Senator McDowell. It is astonishing that experience was not called for in the Bill in the first place. I would have thought that was a prime requirement of someone being promoted to these senior positions. There is no doubt that experience in court is a very substantial asset for any judge and I would have thought it important to include it.
As it currently stands, section 50(1)(b) states: "requisite skills and attributes" means skills, competencies, personal attributes and characteristics that a person must possess in order that he or she may be considered to be suitable for selection (and the foregoing references to skills, and other matters, include those matters that, with any suitable adaptation, would be listed in the document commonly referred to as a "role profile")." This is actually quite vague. What are the "skills, competencies, personal attributes and characteristics that a person must possess"? That is very vague, while experience is a very solid, factually based and well-grounded idea and it is very important that it is included in the Bill at this juncture.