On 3rd April, 2006 the main provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 were commenced, bringing about significant changes to the constitution of the United Kingdom by redefining the roles of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justices of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland. The reforms were designed to ensure the independence of the judiciary and to clarify the relationship between them and the Executive.
As a consequence of the 2005 Act, the Lord Chancellor’s role as a judge ceased and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland became President of the Courts of Northern Ireland and holds the title of Head of the Judiciary. The role of the Lord Chief Justice was significantly enhanced. In addition to his existing roles, for example as Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and president of the Court of Appeal, High Court and Crown Court, the Lord Chief Justice has responsibility for training and guidance of the judiciary.
The Lord Chief Justice fulfils his obligations regarding training through the Judicial Studies Board for Northern Ireland (JSB (NI)).