I am responding to a letter (Larissa Hutson, 4 March) concerning research being carried out to discover what attracts members of the legal profession to apply – or puts them off from applying – to be a judge. This work is being undertaken by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) in partnership with the Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), and will refresh research first completed in 2008.

Of course we completely agree with the author’s point on selection on merit. We select solely on merit and nothing in this survey will affect how the JAC makes selections or undermine in any way the merit principle. However, she is mistaken in suggesting that she was targeted to complete the survey, and not her husband, because more women are being encouraged to apply for judicial appointment. The survey was sent to a randomised sample of male and female solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives.

The findings will be published for everyone to see later in 2013 and used to inform the way in which the JAC reaches out to all potential applicants, and how the Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx promote judicial office to all their members as a career move.

Christopher Stephens, chairman, Judicial Appointments Commission, London SW1