NRI to head UK's judicial commission
Baroness Usha Prashar has been appointed the first chairperson of Judicial Appointments Commission.india Updated: Nov 06, 2005 16:01 IST
Britain's judges will, henceforth, be appointed by a judicial commission chaired by a person of Indian origin.
In what is officially described as a "significant step in setting up a transparent and robust method" of appointing judges, a Judicial Appointments Commission has been established to make all judicial appointments in courts and tribunals. As of now the country's Law Minister, the Lord Chancellor, appoints the judges.
Queen Elizabeth has appointed Baroness Usha Prashar as the first chairperson of the Commission, which will consist of 14 Commissioners, including five "lay people" and five judges.
The Commission will come into being from April next year.
Hailing from Punjab, the Prashar family migrated to Kenya in 1930 where Usha was born in 1948. The family later moved to the United Kingdom where she studied.
With a distinguished record of public service, the 57-year-old Baroness has been the First Civil Service Commissioner since 2000. Prior to that she held the post of Executive Chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales for three years.
Prashar has also held the post of Director of National Council of Voluntary Organisations and Director of the Runnymede Trust.
Prashar already occupies some key positions like Chancellor of De Montford University and Chairperson of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
She has been selected through an open competition for the post of Chairperson of Judicial Appointments Commission.
Holding a degree from University of Leeds, she has authored quite a few books.
Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer welcomed her appointment and said she would play a crucial role in shaping the body that will appoint judges in a fair and effective way.
"Baroness Usha Prashar has a formidable task ahead," he said but expressed confidence in her calibre to meet the challenge.
Accepting the new assignment, Prashar said, "I am pleased to be the first Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission, which will play an important role in maintaining the historically high standards of the judiciary in England and Wales."
She said merit would be the most important consideration while seeking to ensure that judges reflect the diverse society they serve.