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This document sets out for discussion key reforms the Party wishes to see achieved within the Isle of Man legal system.


There is a burning platform for change; appropriate and proportionate access to justice.


Members of the public and legal profession are asked for any comments or suggestions they may have before Peter Karran MHK seeks leave of the House of Keys to introduce a Private Member’s Bill. This document wishes to canvass support as to what should and should not be included in that Bill.


The closing date for submission is 5pm on 25th April 2014, and any feedback is to be sent to

The Proposed Private Member’s Bill Short title: A BILL to reform the selection, appointment and operation of the Manx Judiciary, Advocacy and Legal System. 1.

Clause 1 provides that the appointments of the Judges of Appeal, First Deemsters and Attorney Generals be made by a specially constituted appointments committee, comprising of the Chairman of the United Kingdom Judicial Appointments Committee, and a panel of five selected from the Official list of Senior Members of the Judiciary in the United Kingdom who are retired and under 75 years of age and to include the First Deemster and Judge of Appeal. The Members of that Panel to serve on appointment until attaining the age of 75 or by resignation. The Panel to elect by secret vote between members on the list. 1


Clause 2 provides that the number of Judges of Appeal be increased to two off-island Appeal Judges, so that three Judges (including an Island Deemster) will hear every Appeal. But the tenure of each off island Judge be limited to no more than 5 years, and upon the office(s) becoming vacant, candidates be sourced from suitably qualified offisland Barristers, with a statutory bar to previous occupants returning to office and being drawn from the same Chambers of extant Judges serving on the island.


Clause 3 provides that a judicial exchange programme be implemented between the United Kingdom, other Crown Dependencies and the Isle of Man, whereby Judges from each respective jurisdiction serve on a rotational basis in each respective jurisdiction every legal term. And that before elevation to Deemster local judges sit as Recorders and/or District Judges for a year with eligibility being determined by a minimum number of cases tried.


Clause 4 provides that sections 15-17 of the Advocates Act 1995 and the High Court Directive X(24) of 6th March 2000, be expressly repealed, and that there be automatic rights of audience for qualified foreign Counsel in possession of a practising certificate issued by the relevant professional regulator.


Clause 5 provides that the prosecutions function of the Attorney General be relocated to a newly created Prosecution Service, and that the Attorney General become solely concerned with the provision of legal advice to the Executive and Legislative.


Clause 6 provides that automatically, where legal challenges are made against the Executive and/or Court Officers, off island Judges be given care and conduct.


Clause 7 provides that in respect of the costs of Manx Litigation, the Isle of Man adopts and operates the same costs system and control of substantive charging rates and categories of personnel, as the United Kingdom.


Clause 8 provides that the Isle of Man adopts a contingency fee system based on the English or American models or a derivate thereof.


Clause 9 provides that the Advocates’ Disciplinary Tribunal be replaced with a system of arbitration akin to the United Kingdom’s Legal Ombudsman.


Clause 10 provides that all off-Island professional regulator rules apply to and can be enforced by off-island regulators to the people who have originally qualified under those off-Island professional regulators.


Clause 11 provides that judicial complaints system be implemented with an external regulator comprising of the selection panel provided for at Clause 1.


Clause 12 provides that the Jury system be altered to allow it to work on a majority verdict of no lower than 5:2 for a 7 man Jury, or 10:2 for a 12 man formation.

Issued by Peter Karran MHK For the Liberal Vannin Party and Member for Onchan 2

03 judicial reform bill consultation document