The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC) was established in June 2005.

We are an independent public body established to bring about a new system for appointing members of the judiciary in Northern Ireland.

We were established under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Acts 2002 & 2004 which implemented the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice Review which flowed from the Belfast Agreement (1998). The Belfast Agreement provided for a wide-ranging review of criminal justice in Northern Ireland.

Upon the devolution of justice on 12 April 2010, the Northern Ireland Act 2009 extended our statutory duties even further.

NIJAC is now an appointing body with a say over the judicial complement and determining certain elements (non-financial) of some Terms and Conditions.

Our sponsoring department is The Executive Office (TEO), previously the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) whose role is one of oversight and ensuring accountability for our governance and finance arrangements.

The Commission comprises of 13 members drawn from the judiciary, legal profession and other backgrounds. The Chair is the Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan. 

The five judicial members are nominated by the Lady Chief Justice and appointed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister acting jointly. The two legal members are nominated by The Bar Council of Northern Ireland and Law Society of Northern Ireland. The 5 lay members are also appointed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister acting jointly and are members who do not hold (or have never held) a protected judicial office and are not (and have never been) a barrister or solicitor.

Three standing committees have been established to deliver on NIJAC’s commitments:

  • Advisory Committee
  • Business Committee
  • Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Commissioners are supported by 13 members of staff, headed by Tonya McCormac, Chief Executive.