Navdeep Deol is a Fee-paid Employment Judge, sitting in the London Central Employment Tribunal, appointed in 2010. He also heads up the employment law team at British Airways and prior to that worked in private practice for Rowley Ashworth Solicitors.
Employment Tribunals determine disputes between employers and employees over employment rights. They hear claims about matters to do with employment. These can include unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and discrimination.
"Having acted for both claimants and respondents, I was interested in using the skills I had gained in a different way. The Employment Judge role was the perfect opportunity to do this.
"I was unsuccessful in the 2009 selection exercise, but was encouraged by solicitors and barristers who had been through this very competitive process to try again. The JAC was also very supportive and re-assured unsuccessful applicants that a rejection should not be considered to be a bar to future applications.
"The selection process can be quite daunting and it runs over a lengthy period. If you are interested in applying, you need to devote quite a bit of time and energy to it, even if you have been through it before, or you practice employment law from day to day. The analytical skills required for the role, and tested through the written test and role play, are not necessarily instinctive, even to the most experienced litigators. The JAC gives you guidance on the selection process and what you are required to know, including a very helpful video of a role play. Look through this carefully, even if it seems obvious. And if you have some time, go to the Employment Tribunals to watch cases and take notes on the behaviour of the judges, as an observer with no stake in the particular case.
"After being shortlisted through a qualifying test, I was invited to a selection day consisting of an interview and two short role plays. The staff at the JAC were very helpful and supportive in organising this.
"The role plays are a challenge, but probably a really effective way of seeing how you will behave in certain types of circumstances. It is not just about whether you know the correct statutory provisions, but also how you interact with others.
"The questions at my interview were challenging. You need to be able to demonstrate the relevant skills, for instance give examples of your ability to see different sides of an argument.
"I have decided to work part-time at British Airways to allow myself plenty of time to develop the skills required for a judicial role. It is good to be learning again - and the training for the role is very interesting and motivating. It feels, even at this early stage in my judicial career, that the role is likely to make me a better lawyer too."