The recruitment of legally qualified and of technically qualified judges of the Unified Patent Court (Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal) has been launched with the publication of the vacancy notices in English, French, and German. The deadline for applications is 4 July 2016.
The finalization of the appointment procedure is dependent on the entry into force of the Protocol on Provisional Application and subsequently the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court.
According to the recruitment information, the following procedure will apply:
The selection process of candidates for judicial posts at the UPC consists of the following steps:
1. A first round of candidates’ selection will be carried out on the basis of answers provided in the Application Form, together with the candidates’ Curriculum Vitae, references and any other relevant document provided.
2. The candidates selected by the Advisory Committee on the basis of this first round of the selection process will be invited to an interview, carried out by members of the Advisory Committee. The interview will aim at evaluating skills necessary for judicial functions at the UPC, such as judicial ethics, experience in meeting tight deadlines, oral communication skills, the capacity to work in a multinational and multilingual environment, etc.
3. Following the first round of selection and the interviews, the Advisory Committee will present a list to the Administrative Committee, recommending the most suitable candidates for posts of judges at the UPC.
4. Based on this list, the Administrative Committee will appoint the necessary number of judges for a proper functioning of the UPC. When appointing judges, the Administrative Committee will ensure the best legal and technical expertise and a balanced composition of the UPC, on as broad a geographical basis as possible among nationals of the Contracting Member States.
This blogger is pleased to note that the "skills" filter (Steps 2 and 3) is applied prior to considering the criterion of a "broad geographical basis", which enters the game only in step 4. This avoids that unexperienced judges can be favoured over more experienced ones for mere political reasons.
A recent IPKat post pointing out that an independent body for enforcing the code of conduct of future representatives before the UPC is lacking, resulting in a potential violation of Art. 6 ECHR, and the ongoing discussion on disciplinary measures of the EPO BoA made me thinking: How could a hypothetical code of conduct of UPC judges be enforced?
The structure of the code of conduct for the judges will most likely have some similarity to the code of conduct of the ECJ judges, where The President of the Court of Justice, assisted by a Consultative Committee composed of the three Members of the Court of Justice who have been longest in office, shall be responsible for ensuring the proper application of this Code of Conduct. Is this a good solution? Or should the decisions of the president be open to judicial review (e.g. by the ECJ?)