§ Mrs. Curtis-Thomas
To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps he is taking to encourage wider social representation in the judiciary. 
§ Mr. Hoon
Judicial appointments are made solely on merit; the Lord Chancellor's policy is to appoint or recommend for appointment the candidates who satisfy 43W the statutory qualifications and who in his opinion best meet the criteria for appointment. Without prejudice to this overriding principle, the Lord Chancellor is taking a number of measures designed to encourage more applications for judicial appointment for women and minority ethnic practitioners. These include more flexible part-time sitting arrangements, an increase in the upper age limit for appointment as an Assistant Recorder and the development of work-shadowing and mentoring schemes.