We thought that it was time to have an update on the appointment process for the twelfth justice.  As our readers will recall, some time ago applications for this post were invited – with a closing date of 26 October 2009. Since then, there have been no official announcements.   There was much press speculation about the possible candidacy of Mr Jonathan Sumption QC.  However, in December 2009 he announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy – we blogged about this at the time (a post which was the subject of an interesting comment by Charon QC on his blog).  

When the original Supreme Court Hilary Term list was published on 18 December 2009, a mysterious “Justice X” was listed as hearing cases on 15 February and 1 March 2010 – but no word as to his or her identity.   The “Case Details” shows the first case as being heard by “Justice 12” (see ZN (Afghanistan)).   On 27 December, an impatient Joshua Rozenberg posted a piece under the heading “Why the delay?” – concluding that it was likely to be the Government’s fault and inviting confidential sources to give him the name.  

After we had drawn attention to the “Justice X” listing, Joshua took up the point on his blog – but with no more news as to the mysterious figure’s identity.

Yesterday, Joshua gave us an update on what he had been able to glean from his sources.  These do not all speak with one voice – one has Lords Justices Dyson, Maurice Kay and Wilson on the shortlist, another has Lord Justice Lloyd in the frame.  As usual we make no comment, save to point out that “Justice 12’s” first case is an appeal against a decision of Laws, Rix and Wilson LJJ which seems to rule out all three.  Joshua also suggests that the delay is a result of a panel member from Northern Ireland being delayed by bad weather on the day of the interview with the MoJ being at fault for not letting him arrive the previous day. 

Developments are awaited – assuming that “Justice 12” does make an appearance on 15 February, there are now 17 working days for the announcement to be made.  We, at least, are on the edge of our seats.