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High Court Judge 2017/18
An exercise to select High Court judges is expected to launch on 2 November with vacancies anticipated across all three divisions: Queen’s Bench, Family and Chancery. Information about the three High Court divisions can be found on the judiciary website and in the job description.
Who can apply
To apply, you must be a solicitor or barrister with at least 7 years post qualification legal experience. In addition, you must be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually of 5 years, before the statutory retirement age of 70.
Previous judicial experience is not required and applications are invited from practitioners as well as judges. However, please think carefully about the role and note that it is important to have a realistic view of the complexity and demands of High Court work, relative to your role or practice.Those who do not regularly handle highly-pressured, high volume, intellectually complex and legally challenging work, which is a feature of the High Court, should consider whether they will be able to demonstrate significant and realistic transferable skills or experience.
The JAC expects that any candidate who aspires to this senior level to have taken steps before applying, to orientate themselves and their portfolio of work such that they can clearly demonstrate their suitability to be a High Court judge. This is not something that can be achieved just a few weeks before launch, still less so in the 2 week application window.
A transferable skills table is provided to enable candidates to measure themselves and their experience against examples of the type and level of complex work expected of those applying to be a High Court judge.
The Commission encourages diversity and welcomes applications from groups currently under represented in the judiciary. The principles of fair and open competition will apply and recommendation for appointment will be made solely on merit.
About the process
The JAC recognises that candidates will be extremely busy with their own work both before and during the exercise. We also recognise that preparing an application is a substantial task and will draw significantly on candidates’ time; it is not one that can be completed overnight. We would, therefore, advise candidates to start preparing their applications well in advance. Putting aside sufficient time will help candidates to develop relevant examples that demonstrate their suitability and to consider the written work, judgments or directions they could submit to demonstrate the level of complexity and legal dexterity with which High Court judges are faced.
Throughout the selection process, candidates will be assessed against a competency framework specifically tailored to the role of a High Court judge. The competencies are aligned to the Judicial Skills and Abilities framework used by the judiciary, and lists the ways in which a person demonstrates the required skills and abilities when working effectively in post.
As part of the application process candidates will be required to provide, in no more than 250 words per competency, specific examples that demonstrate how their experiences make them suitable for the role. Further information on completing the self-assessment and choosing the best examples is available on the JAC website. In addition, candidates will be asked to provide two significant pieces of written work, or judgments or directions.
Those wishing to apply will also need to create an online account. The JAC's online application system requires all candidates to create an account before applying for judicial office. Each account includes personal, character and diversity profiles which can be created and updated at any time; candidates do not need to wait until an exercise launches before creating an account.
The information page contains everything you need to know about this exercise including the full eligibility criteria, details of the selection process and key dates.
Sign up for alerts to be kept informed of the progress of this exercise up to launch.