Lucy Theis - High Court Judge

Lucy Theis was appointed to the High Court in October 2010. She was a QC, Assistant Recorder, Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge.

High Court judges are assigned to one of the three divisions of the High Court - the Chancery Division, the Queen's Bench and the Family Division. High Court judges usually sit in London, but they also travel to major court centres around the country. They try serious criminal cases, important civil cases and assist the Lord Justices to hear criminal appeals.

"Being appointed to the High Court Bench is an enormous honour and a great privilege. I want to encourage women who have the requisite qualifications to consider applying for judicial posts. I hope this will lead to a further increase in the number of women being appointed as judges, in particular to the High Court.

"I first decided to apply to become a judge after I had been in practice at the Family Bar for about 15 years. I had a young family and wanted to see what sitting as a judge was like. Before being eligible to sit full-time as a judge you normally need to apply to sit as a fee-paid judge. If your application is successful, there is a period of training, after which you are able to sit as a judge for up to four weeks a year. Being part-time enables you to continue in practice as either a solicitor or a barrister.

"During my time sitting fee-paid, I did a wide cross-section of work. I greatly benefited from hearing criminal cases. Jury trials in the Crown Court provide invaluable experience, as situations often arise at short notice, requiring urgent decisions to be made. In addition, doing a day of sentencing can test even the most experienced practitioner.

"Having decided to apply to sit full-time, I found the JAC selection process somewhat daunting, but it did make me think very hard about why I wanted to apply and what the necessary qualities are.

"Future candidates who apply to sit full or part-time should not be afraid to seek advice and guidance, when either deciding whether to apply or during the application process. Speaking to people who have been through the selection procedures before can be extremely helpful. The Judicial Office runs a judge shadowing scheme which provides an excellent opportunity to see first hand what judicial work involves."