The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) invites applications for Recorder 2017
Launched: 13:00 on 1 February 2017
Closed: 13:00 on 8 February 2017
Number of vacancies: Now 150 vacancies across England and Wales in crime and family.
Fee: £635.74 per day
Please take the time to read through all of the updated information highlighted in italics contained in these pages and make note of the changes to key dates.
Overview of the role
The JAC seeks to identify the most meritorious candidates for recommendation to the Recorder posts. At the launch of the exercise the number of vacancies was expected to be 100. The Lord Chancellor has now increased this to 150. The successful candidates will be deployed to sit in either the crime or family jurisdictions across all circuits; experience of specific jurisdictions is not a prerequisite for appointment.
The jurisdiction of a Recorder is broadly similar to that of a Circuit Judge. Recorders are required to read and assimilate case papers before a hearing or trial commences and play an active role in case management. Recorders must control the manner in which cases are conducted and decide issues of law and procedure that may arise during a case and provide reasons for any ruling. Recorders are expected to keep abreast of legal developments; this entails a substantial amount of reading not directly connected with the cases which they are trying.
Newly appointed Recorders are required to attend a Judicial College residential induction course before they are able to sit in the relevant jurisdiction. Thereafter periodical continuation courses are required for all Recorders.
Recorders are appointed nationally; they are assigned by the Lord Chief Justice to a circuit within England and Wales. Following appointment, and subject to completion of training and sitting in, all Recorders deployed to sit in family will be required to sit in Private Law with the majority also requiring authorisation in Public Law, subject to senior judicial approval.
Terms and conditions for Recorder 2017
Job description for Recorder 2017
Judicial pensions guide 1993
Judicial pensions guide 2015
Outline of the selection process
There are 4 stages in the selection process:
- online qualifying test
- scenario test
- telephone assessment
- selection day
Due to IT problems at the stage 1 qualifying test, all candidates progressed through to the stage 2 scenario test.
If you are successful in the scenario test (stage 2) you will be required to submit a self-assessment and provide the contact details of your independent assessors. Full details of the selection process are explained further below.
Location and jurisdiction
Successful candidates will be deployed to sit in either the crime or family jurisdictions across all circuits. If you are invited to participate in a telephone assessment you will be required, on your application, to indicate and rank both your jurisdictional and location preferences. However, this information will play no part in selection decisions and will be used for deployment purposes only.
In order to be considered for appointment to this post, you must meet the eligibility requirements below. We will not be assessing eligibility until after the telephone assessment. It is therefore your responsibility, and in your own interests, to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application.
Under section 21(2) of the Courts Act 1971, as amended by paragraph 9 of Schedule 10 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE Act), no person shall be appointed a Recorder unless they satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis.
The TCE Act 2007 introduced the ‘judicial-appointment eligibility condition’. You will have to show that:
- you have possessed a relevant legal qualification
- for the requisite period and
- that whilst holding that qualification you have gained experience in law
The meaning of “gain experience in law” is set out in section 52(2) to (5) of the TCE Act 2007 and relates to a period engaged in law related activities. “Relevant qualification” means a solicitor or barrister.
In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment, a solicitor (or a salaried judicial office holder who was formerly a solicitor) must appear on the Roll.
You may wish to note that service as a magistrate is not considered demonstrative of gaining experience in the law or as being equivalent to previous judicial experience.
Candidates must be either a UK citizen or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. Other European Union citizens are not eligible to apply.
There is no upper or lower age limit for candidates apart from the statutory retirement age of 70. However, the age at which someone is appointed as a judicial officer must allow for a reasonable length of service before retirement, usually for these posts it is 4 years.
The Commission will make the decision as to whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Additional selection criteria
Candidates who are interested in being deployed to a post in Wales need to have an understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales. This includes legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. This will be assessed at selection day.
Conflicts of interest: Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Government Legal Service (GLS)
Lawyers working in the CPS, SFO and GLS are eligible to apply.
It is the Lord Chancellor's policy that CPS lawyers are not able to sit as a Recorder in crime (or in any matter involving their own government department). If CPS and SFO lawyers wish to sit in crime, they will be expected to resign if they are successful and deployed to the crime jurisdiction. They could, however, be deployed to sit in family in which case they will not be required to resign.
If GLS lawyers are recommended for appointment they are not required to resign. However, government lawyers are not able to sit on cases where there is, or there is perceived to be, a conflict of interest, for example, where their own department is a party.
Throughout the exercise you will be assessed against the competency framework for this post. Please read the competency framework before making your application: Recorder 2017 competency framework
Open for applications: 1 February 2017 at 13:00
Close for applications: 8 February 2017 at 13:00
Scenario test: 7 March 2017 issued via email
Outcome of scenario test issued. Request for candidates to complete part 2 of their application: week commencing 10 April 2017
Deadline for the submission of part 2 of the application: 25 April 2017 at 13:00
Telephone assessment: 11 May to 12 June 2017 (9am to 5pm)
Outcome of telephone assessment test issued: 17 July 2017
Request for independent assessments: 17 July 2017
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 14 August 2017
Selection days: 6 – 29 September 2017
Outcome of selection days: Mid-January 2018
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed.
Completing your application
For this exercise there is a 2-part application. The first part of the application required you to create an account on the JAC website and use it to apply for the exercise between 13:00 on 1 February 2017 and 13:00 on 8 February 2017.
The second part of the application requires you to complete your self-assessment and provide details of your independent assessors. Note that only candidates successful in the scenario test (stage 2) will be requested to complete the second part of the application.
Your online application plays an important part in the selection process. You must complete all required sections, ensuring the information you provide is clear and accurate.
Candidates successful in the telephone assessment (stage 3) will then be invited to a selection day (stage 4) which will consist of a role play and competency-based interview.
Stage 1: Online qualifying test
All applicants were invited to participate in an online qualifying test on 15 February 2017 from 16:00 to 22:00.
Due to IT problems the JAC took the decision to:
- invite all candidates to progress through to the stage 2 scenario test
- conduct the stage 2 scenario test by email on Tuesday 7 March 2017
Stage 2: Scenario test
The JAC sent instructions for the stage 2 scenario test to all candidates. The test took place on Tuesday 7 March.
The test consisted of a scenario concerning case management and procedural issues that may arise in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings to which English law applies. Candidates were required to provide a narrative response to 6 questions.
Some candidates encountered problems over the timing of their tests and the email delivery of the paper and questions. The JAC decided to take more candidates to the telephone assessment (stage 3) than had been previously planned.
The scenario test was marked by a panel comprising a JAC panel chair and a judge.
The outcome of stage 2 will be emailed to candidates early in the week commencing 10 April 2017.
Stage 3: Telephone assessment
If you are successful in the scenario test you will be invited to participate in a telephone assessment. You will be asked to provide your availability and declare any conflicts by return of email, by close of play on Monday 17 April 2017. However, it would greatly aid the administration of this exercise if you were able to reply as soon as you can and ideally before the bank holiday weekend.
The telephone assessment will take place between 11 May and 12 June 2017 (9am to 5pm).
It is at this stage that you also will be asked to log back into your JAC account, submit your self-assessment and provide your independent assessment details. You will also be asked to agree to maintain confidentiality of the assessment materials at both telephone assessment and selection day stages.
The deadline for submission of your self-assessment is 13:00 on 25 April 2017.
A panel, consisting of a non-legally qualified JAC panel chair and a judicial member, will conduct the telephone assessment. Furthermore they will assess your self-assessment evidence to determine which candidates should progress to a selection day (stage 4). Details, including actual timings, will be confirmed by email on 28 April 2017. If you have not received an email by this date please contact the JAC immediately.
The self-assessment is your opportunity to tell us about the experience and knowledge you have for the post. You must provide examples and evidence of why you feel your skills and experience are transferable to the post to enable you to perform effectively in the role. You should link your examples to the competencies required for the post; the self-assessment should not simply be a reiteration of your career history.
We strongly advise you read the guidance on completing your self-assessment. You must also read the competency framework for the post and the job description before composing your self-assessment. There are 5 competencies in total which list the behaviours of a Recorder who is performing the role effectively. The self-assessment has a 250 word limit for each competency. Any information in excess of this will not be used to support your application. Note form is acceptable.
The outcome of the telephone assessment test will be emailed to candidates on 17 July 2017. If you have not received an email by that date please contact the JAC immediately.
Following stages of shortlisting (scenario test and telephone assessment) the JAC will publish a feedback report on the JAC website giving overall feedback to candidates concerning that particular stage of the process.
Independent assessments will contribute to your overall assessment. They should provide evidence that you have the abilities relevant to the role as outlined in the competency framework. Further guidance about independent assessments is on the JAC website.
Independent assessments will be requested on 17 July 2017 and must be returned by 14 August 2017. Late independent assessments may not be considered. You are, therefore, advised to notify your assessors in advance that you intend to apply, and to inform them of the date that assessments will be requested and the date they must be returned.
When asked to provide details of your independent assessors you will see 4 boxes for the assessor details. However, you must give details of 2 assessors only in line with the categories below:
- if you are a fee-paid judge you need to provide one judicial assessor and one professional assessor
- if you are a salaried judge you need to provide 2 judicial assessors
- if you do not currently hold a judicial post, you need to provide 2 professional assessors, one of whom may be a judge who is able to provide an assessment of your professional role
You must ensure all of the correct details (name, title and email address) are provided for both of your assessors. All correspondence with your independent assessors will be by email; it is, therefore, imperative that the information you provide is correct to avoid any delays in your assessor being contacted.
Stage 4: Selection day
If you are successful in the telephone assessment, you will be invited to a selection day which will take place between 6 and 29 September 2017. We will not be able to offer an alternative selection day outside this period.
The selection days will take place at a number of venues across England and Wales and you will be asked to indicate your preferred selection day location in the second part of your application. Where possible we will take into account your preference. However, due to the number of candidates and locations involved, we cannot guarantee that you will be offered a selection day at your preferred location.
The selection day will comprise a role play followed by a competency-based interview. The panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post. Further details will be sent with the formal invitation to attend which you will receive on 17 July 2017. If you have not received an email by that date please contact the JAC immediately.
Candidates applying for posts in Wales will be asked some additional questions at selection day relating to Welsh matters. This is to allow the panel to assess your understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales, including legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. If you are considered unsuitable for the Welsh posts, this will not affect your suitability for posts in England.
Please note that selections are made solely on merit. Following deployment decisions you will only be offered one post, therefore please consider your preferences carefully.
More information about selection day, including interviews and role plays
The JAC provides reasonable adjustments to ensure that candidates with special needs are not placed at a substantial disadvantage. We will also consider making reasonable adjustments for those suffering from short-term injury or temporary illness. Details are in the JAC's reasonable adjustments policy.
As required by the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013, the JAC is required to consult a person (other than the Appropriate Authority) who has held the office for which candidates are applying, or someone else with other relevant experience. For this selection exercise, the JAC will consult with the Senior Presiding Judge. The information provided by the Statutory Consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
More information on statutory consultation
The JAC is required to carry out character checks on all candidates it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
On 4 August 2016 the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 came into effect. It allows for the full disclosure of all spent cautions and convictions to assess good character.
You must declare and disclose all past convictions and cautions, regardless of whether they are spent or unspent. Failure to declare any matters that come to light from the JAC's checks may prejudice the outcome of your application. Please read the good character guidance before applying.
You may update the character section of your JAC profile at any time. This is your continuing responsibility throughout the process for any matter that may arise up to the point of appointment.
The JAC requires your signed consent to carry out character checks. The JAC will request that you complete and return a signed consent form if you are invited to selection day.
Equal merit provision
In line with its published policy, the Commission will apply the equal merit provision to this exercise. If the Commission, sitting as the Selection and Character Committee, considers two or more candidates to be of equal merit, a candidate may be selected for the purpose of increasing judicial diversity. The Committee will use the provision based on the data declared by candidates in the diversity part of their online application.
The relevant datasets that will be used to identify any under-representation are taken from the 2011 Census, detailed Characteristics, England and Wales (ONS 2012) and the diversity statistics showing the background of the courts judiciary (as of 1 April 2016), based upon primary appointment, as published on the Judiciary website.
The population of the United Kingdom ('usual residents') aged 25 to 74 that are women is 50.4%, while BAME is 11.3%. The proportion of Recorders that are women is 20% and of those who declared their ethnicity 7% declared they were from a BAME background.
If the Committee has applied the equal merit provision, it may be presented with a situation whereby it is unable to choose between two or more candidates on the basis of their relevant protected characteristics. For example, 2 candidates assessed as being of equal merit may both be white men. If this situation arises, the Equal Merit Provision cannot be used to make a selection. Therefore the Committee will invite those candidates to a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision. Dates for second interviews are 1 and 4 December 2017.
Diversity information for previous selection exercises is on the JAC's official statistics pages.
The Selection and Character Committee will consider which candidates to recommend to the Appropriate Authority as set out in the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013.
For this exercise the Appropriate Authority will be the Lord Chief Justice who can accept or reject a recommendation or ask the Commission to reconsider. The Appropriate Authority may not select an alternative candidate.
In order to consider a recommendation, the Appropriate Authority may request any information that was available to the JAC in making its recommendation. You should be aware that any information you provide in your application or during the selection process could be passed on to the Lord Chief Justice.
Outcome of the exercise
Please note that we will issue results by email to all those interviewed, at the same time. We hope this will be by mid-January 2018.
If you are not successful following the selection day, you can request written feedback. You should make this request within 6 weeks of the email informing you that you have not been successful. We will aim to respond to your request within 20 working days.
Successful candidates will attend a week-long residential course as follows:
- those candidates deployed to crime will be required to attend a training course the week commencing 30 April 2018 or the week commencing 14 May 2018 (tbc)
- for criminal practitioners the sitting-in period is 5 days post-induction course but for those without recent criminal experience there is an additional 5 days before the induction course
- those candidates deployed to family will be required to attend a training course the week commencing 16 April 2018
- for family posts the sitting-in period in relation to both public and private law work is 2 to 5 days. This should take place after the induction course, the exact number of days will be approved by the President of the Family Division (based on experience).
Contacts for more information
If you have any questions about this role or your application contact the selection exercise team at Recorder.Queries@jac.gsi.gov.uk
For general enquiries call 020 3334 0123.
Selection exercise contacts
Ian Robertson: Selection Exercise Project Support, 020 3334 6918
Marta Westlake: Selection Exercise Team Manager, 020 3334 6285
Jennifer Ballance: Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager, 020 3334 6376
Summary of actions for candidates
Summary of actions to be completed by candidates
If you are successful in the scenario test (stage 2) – Provide your availability and any conflicts by return of email
Email by cop 17 April 2017
If you are successful in the scenario test (stage 2) – Complete part 2 of the application form on JARS
Submit by 13:00 on 25 April 2017
If you are successful in the scenario test (stage 2) – Contact the JAC if you have not received a letter with the timing of your telephone assessment
After 13:00 on 28 April 2017
If you are successful in the scenario test (stage 2) - Contact the JAC if you have not received an outcome letter for the telephone assessment
After 13:00 on 17 July 2017
If you are successful in the telephone assessment test (stage 3) - Provide any conflicts by return of email
After 13:00 on 24 July 2017
If you are successful in the telephone assessment test (stage 3) - Contact the JAC if you have not received a letter with the timing and location of your selection day
After 13:00 on 1 August 2017