All selection exercises, up to and including High Court level, use the JAC's own process. We keep these processes under review to ensure they remain fit for purpose.
The detail below describes the current selection process. The Crime and Courts Act 2013 introduces amendments to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 which will have an operational impact on parts of the selection process. Our continuous improvement programme will also result in some changes to the current process.
In line with our statutory duty to select 'solely on merit' the Commission has developed a set of qualities and abilities against which to measure merit that are used throughout our selection process. These are adjusted as appropriate for different appointments.
The selection process typically starts when the JAC receives a vacancy request from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service or the Ministry of Justice. The vacancy request includes the number of vacancies, a job description and the eligibility requirements set by statute for the post. It may also contain additional selection criteria set by the business area.
The JAC advertises all selection exercises on this website and in our email newsletter Judging Your Future. If you are interested in an exercise you can sign-up to receive alerts, and we will let you know when that exercise launches.
The JAC tailors the application form for each selection exercise and prepares an information pack. The pack includes includes information about the post concerned, the selection process to be used, and the qualities and abilities (competencies) against which an assessment will be made. When we receive the completed application form, we check that the candidate meets the entry requirements. We also make an assessment of good character. You should submit your application to the JAC electronically. The JAC will only accept hard copy applications in exceptional circumstances. Information about filling in the application form can be found here
The purpose of shortlisting is to identify candidates to proceed to the selection day. It is either undertaken on the basis of a test or by a paper sift.
We prefer to use tests for making shortlisting decisions in the majority of exercises. We tailor our processes appropriately, however, so may not use them when there are small numbers of applicants, for example.
We have now moved tests online. Candidates have told us they want this because it provides improved anonymity and enables them to sit a test at a convenient time and location. Online tests also improve the speed and cost effectiveness of selection processes. The expectation that candidates will take tests online is in accordance with the Government's strategy of 'digital by default' and the increasing need for IT skills by the business areas. Candidates can request reasonable adjustments to ensure they can participate in the selection process fairly. Alongside this we continue to explore alternative methods for shortlisting. Information about taking a qualifying test can be found here
References are required either before a paper sift, or after the qualifying test and we will make it clear in the information when in the process we expect you to provide references.
The JAC will seek information from people who are well placed to comment on how the candidate meets the qualities and abilities. References are required from the following groups:
Personal - candidates are required to identify referees they know personally or professionally. It is the candidates' responsibility to ensure personal references are submitted directly to the JAC. The JAC will inform candidates when personal references need to be submitted, along with details of where the relevant forms and associated information can be found on the website.
Professional - candidates are also asked to nominate a professional referee, usually their line manage or equivalent. The JAC will normally approve these referees. Further information specific to each selection exercise is provided in the information pack.
References should be submitted to the JAC electronically. The JAC will only accept hard copy references in exceptional circumstances. Information and guidance on selecting referees can be found here
Candidate selection day
If shortlisted, candidates are invited to a selection day, which may consist of a panel interview, interview and role play, interview and presentation or interview and situational questioning. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate the qualities and abilities required, using appropriate examples.
Panel members assess all the information about each candidate (their performance in the interview and any role play, the candidate's self-assessment and references) and agree which candidates best meet the required qualities. The panel chair then completes a report providing an overall panel assessment. This forms part of the information presented to the Commission.
Sections 88(3) and 94(3) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA) require the Commission, as part of the selection process, to consult the Lord Chief Justice and another person who has held the post, or has relevant experience of the post, about those candidates the Commission is minded to select. These 'statutory consultees' are asked to give a view on the suitability of each candidate so referred. The Commission will consider the statutory consultation responses, together with other information about a candidate. They may decide not to follow the views expressed by the consultees, but must give reasons for doing so when making recommendations to the Lord Chancellor.
In accordance with the JAC's statutory duty the good character of the candidates is also assessed. Guidance to enable candidates to decide whether there is anything in their past conduct or present circumstances that would affect their application for judicial appointment is available on the JAC website.
If the potential recommendation includes an existing salaried judicial office holder, the Office for Judicial Complaints is asked to check whether there are complaints outstanding against them. For other potential recommendations financial, criminal and professional background checks are carried out.
Commissioners make the final decision on which candidates to recommend to the Lord Chancellor for appointment. In doing so, they consider those candidates that selection panels have assessed as the most meritorious for the role, having been provided with information gathered on those individuals during the whole process.
Report to Lord Chancellor
When reporting its final selections to the Lord Chancellor, the Commission must reflect the comments of the statutory consultees and discuss any divergence of opinion.
Quality assurance measures are applied throughout the process to ensure that the proper procedures are applied and the highest standards are maintained. The quality checks include: