The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications for s.9(4) Deputy High Court Judge (Fixed Term).
Launch date: 13:00 on 15 November 2016 Closing date: 13:00 on 29 November 2016 Number of vacancies: up to 15 Fee: £856.04 per day
This page contains the information that you need about the vacancies. It describes the selection process that the JAC will apply with relevant dates and advice on how to prepare for the various stages of this process.
Foreword by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
I am delighted to be able to announce the launch of a Section 9(4) Deputy High Court Judge recruitment competition. This is an excellent opportunity for you to join the senior judiciary, whatever your background. As with last year’s competition, no previous judicial experience is required and there are vacancies across all 3 divisions. What we are looking for is a range of high calibre candidates who are capable of progressing to the High Court within the next 2 to 4 years and have a serious intent to apply. In turn, we will offer you training through the Judicial College and interesting and stimulating work.
The formal requirement for entry into the competition is 7 years’ post-qualification experience, but plainly the competition is aimed at those of the highest calibre. I am personally committed to making our judiciary more diverse and would strongly encourage women and BAME candidates to apply. This is an exciting opportunity for applicants from all backgrounds who have the exceptional intellectual ability, expertise and experience to deal with complex, interesting and highly important cases. High Court work does not just impact those immediately and directly affected by an issue, but decisions made will impact society as a whole. We need the best and the brightest to join us in ensuring we are making the right decisions for the society we serve and I would urge you to apply.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
The JAC has been asked to recommend candidates to fill at least 15 vacancies: about six in the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD), about 4 in the Chancery Division and about 5 posts in the Family Division (FD). Although some specialists are required, for example in Chancery, crime, commercial, public law, defamation and family work, previous courts or advocacy experience of the work is not required for every appointment. The length of the fixed term is 4 years. It will be open to candidates to apply for further appointment.
All the posts will be based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Candidates are reminded that the jurisdiction covers England and Wales, and judges can be deployed to sit in courts in Wales which is enacting primary legislation different from the law applicable in England. Although most sittings will be at the Royal Courts of Justice, therefore, deputy High Court Judges should be prepared to sit on Circuit, if invited. The timing and frequency of any circuit sittings will be a matter of discussion between the successful candidate(s), the senior judiciary and HMCTS and will take into account any personal commitments.
While this exercise is open to existing judges, no previous judicial experience is required. All solicitors and barristers with at least seven years’ post qualification experience are eligible to apply if, during that time, they have been engaged in law related activities, as defined under section 52 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.
Successful candidates may be given the opportunity to sit across all divisions of the High Court, subject to approval of the senior judiciary. Those who are not otherwise Recorders may be deployed, if they wish, to the Crown Court to sit at Recorder-level, subject to training.
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 role
The work will include dealing with complex cases, requiring meticulous preparation. Successful candidates will occasionally be asked to reach decisions on paper alone, and may be given a specific trial or hearing that could last one or two weeks in length. Although the total sitting requirement is up to 30 days per year and these sittings are usually in blocks of one to two weeks, the dates are arranged at the initiative of the candidate.
Depending on the jurisdiction successful candidates may hear a range of work including:
- complex cases arising out of business and property law disputes, both national and international
- the most complex public and private law cases involving children and families, including finding of fact hearings dealing with controversial and difficult medical issues
- financial disputes, including substantial asset divorce cases, cases in relation to children where the parents are unmarried, and financial cases and jurisdictional disputes following foreign divorce decrees
- child abduction and international family law, including relocation cases and the inter-relation of the law of England and Wales with European law
- complex cases in contract, tort and other areas and possibly specialist topics such as planning, commercial, defamation and construction
- in the administrative court, judicial review claims and statutory challenges to the actions of public authorities, such as government ministers, local authorities and other public sector bodies
Additional information for candidates
It is expected that those seeking appointment as a Deputy High Court Judge will usually be considering a salaried judicial career and will have the requisite aptitude to be capable of taking on the very heaviest work when ultimately appointed to their respective Division. Candidates will be assessed against the competency framework which has been developed to ensure that candidates from all backgrounds, including non-litigators, can provide evidence of their transferrable skills.
Candidates must be of extremely high calibre and exceptional ability.
This ability must extend beyond pure legal skill and candidates must also be able to work in or develop expertise across all Divisions. Candidates will be expected to provide evidence of their exceptional skills as part of the selection process. A table of examples of 'exceptionality' has been produced that might help you to identify areas of your own work that could provide evidence of your exceptional skills. The table is, however, by no means exhaustive.
Those less familiar in a courtroom setting, and with the work of a Deputy High Court Judge, might wish to observe a case from the public gallery at a local court. The listings office should be able to advise you which cases are being presided over by a Deputy High Court Judge.
You may find it helpful to listen to the interview with Peter Marquand and read the Q&A with Akhlaq Choudhury who were both appointed deputy high court judges in 2016.
For further information see the outline terms and conditions and the job description.
Before you can be considered for appointment, there are eligibility requirements that you must meet.
The JAC is required to carry out character checks on all candidates whom it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
A signed copy of the consent form should be completed and returned to email@example.com by Friday 9 December 2016. An electronic signature is sufficient.
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.
As required by the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013, the JAC will consult with the President of the Queen's Bench Division, the President of the Family Division and the Chancellor of the High Court. The information provided by the Statutory Consultees will be used to inform selection decisions.
More information on statutory consultation
The first stage is a paper sift. A sift panel, consisting of a High Court Judge and a JAC panel chair, will consider the information provided on your application including the self assessment consisting of two competencies, an additional question on a significant piece of work and career history. The sift will take place between 5 and 13 December 2016. Individual feedback will be forwarded to candidates that are unsuccessful shortly after the outcome letters which we expect to send out on Friday 6 January 2017.
Candidates who are successful in the paper sift will proceed to the second stage of shortlisting. This stage will comprise a telephone assessment lasting about 30 minutes which will be conducted by a High Court Judge and a JAC panel chair. This year the focus of the telephone assessment will be a discussion of issues raised in a set text, which will be sent to you in advance. Discussion of the information provided in your self-assessment will be reserved for the interview stage.
If you are shortlisted for the telephone assessment, we will send an invitation with the time and date of your interview and ask for your preferred contact number; we will call this number at the allocated time. These assessments will take place over the course of 6 days: 17, 18, 19, 20, 23 and 24 January 2017. It is essential that you are available to participate in the telephone assessment on one of these dates - you will be asked to provide details of your availability on the online application. For further information about the telephone assessment arrangements, see telephone assessment guidance
If you are invited to the selection day, you will be required to complete and send your evidence on the three remaining competencies. They will contribute to your overall assessment, together with your application, telephone assessment results and independent assessments (please see paragraph below).
Assessors are approached before the selection day takes place and the evidence they provide will contribute to your overall assessment. The JAC will only contact your assessors if you are shortlisted for a selection day. Please read the guidance about independent assessments before completing your application. 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 relevant competency framework. Assessors will be contacted on 3 February 2017 and have two weeks to provide their assessment.
Conflict of interest
The JAC Commissioners are listed on the JAC website. Do not nominate a Commissioner as an assessor. You should also state in the application form if you are in any way related to or known by any of the Commissioners and give details.
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 onto 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 the end of April or beginning of May 2017.
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.
The successful candidates will be expected to attend compulsory judgecraft training in Central London on 22 and 23 May 2017. Jurisdictional training and sitting ins will be discussed and agreed individually with successful applicants on appointment. This is expected to be held at the end of May or in early June 2017.
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 can be found in the JAC's reasonable adjustments policy.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact Francoise Cave on 020 3334 6078 or Linda McCabe on 020 3334 6588.
Alternatively, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org