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Preferred candidate for Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission

Baroness Ruth Deech has been announced as the preferred candidate for the role of the Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC). 

Subject to pre-appointment scrutiny, Baroness Deech will commence the role in November 2023, following Lord Bew’s term coming to an end.

Baroness Deech has a background in law and taught at numerous institutions including Oxford University. She has written extensively about family law and was appointed an honorary King’s Counsel. 

She was Principal of St Anne’s College Oxford and a Pro Vice-Chancellor. 

In addition to her legal and academic background, Baroness Deech took on extensive regulatory roles including Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Chair of the Bar Standards Board. She was also the first Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

Baroness Deech was appointed DBE in 2003 and made a life peer in 2005. She sits on the crossbenches as an independent legislator and has chaired committees reporting on the retention of women doctors and on equality and disability.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, said:

Baroness Deech will make an excellent Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Her extensive legal, academic and regulatory experience will be a huge asset and ensure the Commission can continue its crucial, independent advisory work.  

Baroness Deech said:

As a lawyer and an independent peer, the success of HOLAC is important to me. I want the public to have confidence that the Commission will ensure that nominees for appointment to the House of Lords are outstanding individuals who will make significant and effective contributions to the legislative and scrutiny work of the  House. 

It will also be my aim to work towards a membership representing all regions of the UK and from every walk of life. Maintaining public trust in the Commission’s independence and in the quality of new peers is vital for our constitution.

This announcement follows an open competition for the role. 

The appointment will now undergo a pre-appointment hearing, where the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) will hear evidence from the preferred candidate and publish a report setting out their views on the candidate’s suitability for the post. 

Notes to editors:

  • HOLAC was established in 2000. Its functions are to recommend individuals for appointment as non-party political life peers and to vet nominations for life peers, including those nominated by the UK political parties, to ensure the highest standards of propriety. 
  • The Commission’s Chair is appointed for a non-renewable, five-year term of office. More information about the Commission can be found on the House of Lords Appointments Commission website.

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