THE UK’s legal system is under threat due to poor morale and difficulties in recruiting judges, a Bolton peer has warned.

Attacks on judges in the media, a growing gap in pay between judges and senior lawyers in the private sector and a dispute over pensions were all highlighted a House of Lords report.

The Lords Constitution Committee, chaired by Baroness Ann Taylor of Bolton, said progress in increasing the diversity of the judiciary had been ‘limited’ and suggested widening the pool of lawyers who could become judges.

Baroness Taylor said: “The UK has one of the finest judicial systems in the world.

“However, we have found an alarming number of factors are currently affecting recruitment to the bench, and we are deeply concerned about the impact they are having on the retention of current judges and the attractiveness of the judiciary as a career for potential applicants. To maintain our gold standard legal system we need the best and brightest candidates coming forward for judicial appointment.”

She added that judges ‘must be free to decide cases without fear of personal criticism from the media’.