Appointment process

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) is an independent judicial body and appointments to the IPT are essentially judicial in nature. Appointments are made by HM The Queen through Letters Patent. Schedule 3 to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 sets out the legal requirement for appointment.

The President of the IPT must hold high judicial office and in practice will usually be a judge of the Court of Appeal, or the equvelent in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The appointment process varies depending on whether the proposed candidate is a serving member of the senior judiciary of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland (a Judicial Member), another judge or a senior member of the legal profession who is not a full-time judge (a Legal Member).

Unlike the High Court which serves only England and Wales, the Tribunal is a UK-wide body with representatives from Scotland and Northern Ireland. The IPT values the diversity of experience and expertise that members bring to the Tribunal.

Where Members are selected from the judiciary, the Judicial Office manages the selection process. The Judicial Office invites expressions of interest from serving Judges in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as appropriate.

Applicants are interviewed by a panel chaired by the President of the IPT. The panel then makes a formal recommendation for an appointment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will write to the Prime Minister asking him or her to seek permission for Letters Patent from Her Majesty the Queen for the recommended appointment(s).

For those who are already serving judges an appointment to the IPT is treated as a judicial deployment.

The IPT also recruits other Members through fair and open competition by placing advertisements in a selection of national newspapers and recruitment sites asking for expressions of interest from suitably qualified lawyers.

Last updated: 7 Feb 21