Government to advertise for UK's human rights judge in Europe

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The Independent Online
The Government is to break with tradition by advertising for candidates to fill a senior judicial position, as the UK's judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Adverts will appear in a national broadsheet and the legal press this week in a bid to widen the field of contenders for the post in the full- time, single human rights court, which will replace the part-time European Commission for Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights next year.

It is the first time that any senior judge has been sought through the situations vacant columns. The Foreign Office said the move was in line with the Government's policy of "encouraging openness".

Any form of advertising for high judicial office is a departure from the secretive method of recruitment, which relies on confidential "soundings" by the Lord Chancellor among judges and lawyers.

But the reforms of the Strasbourg machinery mean that while the judicial post will become full-time and more prestigious, the holder must be prepared to make Strasbourg his or her principal residence. The Foreign Office must come up with a shortlist of three.

Patricia Wynn Davies