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District Judge (Magistrates' Court)
Number of vacancies: 17 (12 immediate and 5 future vacancies)
Salary: £107,100. In addition, posts in London attract a London salary lead of £2,000 per year and a London Allowance of £2,000 per year.
Location: Across England
District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) are salaried members of the judiciary who hear cases in magistrates’ courts. They have a national jurisdiction throughout England and Wales. They are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen and have the authority to sit at any magistrates' court in England and Wales.
The District Judges’ main jurisdiction lies in the adult criminal court. Most also sit in the Youth Court with certain Judges ticketed to try young offenders for serious sexual offences. District Judges also undertake prison adjudications. In addition, some District Judges:
- sit in the single Family Court
- have jurisdiction to hear cases under the Extradition Acts. These same District Judges, by convention, conduct Mutual Assistance hearings under the Fugitive Offenders Acts
- are designated by the Lord Chief Justice to deal with matters under the Terrorism Act 2000
- are authorised to try cases which may result in unlimited fines
Who can apply
By statute, this exercise is open to solicitors, barristers and Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives with at least 5 years post qualification experience engaged in law.
In addition, candidates should be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually of five years, before the statutory retirement age of 70.
The Lord Chancellor also expects candidates to have previous experience as a salaried judicial office holder, or as a fee-paid judge having completed 30 sitting days at the point of application. Only in exceptional cases and where a candidate has demonstrated the necessary skills in some other significant way should an exception be made.
In addition to the Lord Chancellor’s policy regarding previous experience, candidates should be able to demonstrate substantial knowledge of the magistrates’ jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction is fundamentally crime, including prison adjudications. Candidates may be required to sit in the family jurisdiction subject to being suitable for authorisation and approval of the senior judiciary. However, candidates will not be required to demonstrate knowledge of the family jurisdiction as part of the selection process.
About the process
Throughout the selection process, candidates will be assessed against the competency framework for the role of a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts). The competencies are aligned to the Judicial Skills and Abilities framework used by Judicial Office and Judicial College, and list the ways in which a person demonstrates the required skills and abilities when working effectively in post.
As part of the application, candidates will be required to provide specific examples against the competency framework to demonstrate the necessary skills and abilities. A word limit will be set at 250 words per competency. Further information on completing the self-assessment and choosing the best examples can be found on the JAC website.
Candidates will also be required to provide details of two individuals who can provide independent assessments attesting to their suitability for the post, also by way of examples against the competency framework. Independent assessments will be requested by the JAC on 5 April, and must be returned by 19 April. Information about independent assessments, including how they are used and who to choose, is available on the JAC website.
A sift panel will assess the information provided by candidates and their independent assessors to shortlist candidates. Those shortlisted will be invited to a selection day comprising a competency based interview and situational questions.
Before you apply
If you have not already done so, you can create an online account. The JAC's online application system requires all candidates to create an account before applying for judicial office. You can create an account at any time, you do not have to wait until an exercise launches. Your account will include your personal, character and diversity profiles. This information is stored on the system so, if you apply for another position in the future, you only need to update your details making the application process quicker and easier.
Sign up to receive email notifications concerning the progress of this exercise up to launch.