The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications for District Judge (Magistrates' Court).
Launch date: 13:00 on Tuesday 21 March 2017
Closing date: 13:00 on Tuesday 4 April 2017
Number of vacancies: 17 (12 immediate and 5 which are expected to arise in the near future)
Salary: £107,100 (salary group 7)
Location: Vacancies are across England
Overview of the role
District Judges (Magistrates' Court) 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 Judge's main jurisdiction lies in the adult and youth criminal courts. District Judges in a number of areas are also expected to sit in the single Family Court. Certain District Judges have jurisdiction to hear cases under the Extradition Acts. These same District Judges, by convention, conduct Mutual Assistance hearings under the Fugitive Offenders Acts. Certain District Judges are designated by the Lord Chief Justice to deal with matters under the Terrorism Act 2000. Some District Judges are authorised to try cases which may result in unlimited fines. Most sit in the Youth Court with certain District Judges ticketed to try youths for serious sexual offences. District Judges also undertake prison adjudications.
The jurisdiction is fundamentally crime, including prison adjudications, although judges will hear some civil cases. Candidates may be required to sit in the family jurisdiction subject to being suitable for authorisation and approval by the senior judiciary.
Terms and conditions
Vacancies are across England. Upon offer of appointment, Judicial Office will discuss specific deployment arrangements with successful candidates to agree the courts at which they will sit.
MoJ Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 1993
MoJ New Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 2015
Salaried part-time working available
Up to 2 posts could be accommodated on a 50/50 or 60/40 basis provided the full-time equivalent is met.
The JAC encourages applications from anyone who may be interested in pursuing this option where a post is advertised as being open to salaried part-time working. Final working patterns will need to be discussed and agreed between the successful candidate(s), relevant senior judiciary and the business area at the time of offer of appointment.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post. As we will not be assessing eligibility until after the shortlisting stage, it is your responsibility, and in your own interest, to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application.
Under s22(1) of the Courts Act 2003, as amended by para 38(2) of Schedule 10 to the TCE Act 2007 and by paragraphs 29 (3) of Schedule 13 to the Crime and Courts Act 2013, no person shall be appointed a District Judge (Magistrates' Court) unless they satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 5-year basis.
The TCE 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 the 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 barrister or a solicitor, and, in accordance with Part 2 of Schedule 1 to SI 2008/2995, with effect from 30 November 2010, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
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.
Additional selection criteria
The Lord Chancellor expects that candidates for salaried posts will have sufficient directly relevant previous judicial experience. Only in exceptional cases and if the candidate in question has demonstrated the necessary skills in some other significant way should an exception be made.
"Previous judicial experience” is sitting as a judge in a salaried or fee-paid capacity. For fee-paid judges at the point of application, the length of directly relevant previous judicial experience should be for a period of at least 2 years or a minimum 30 completed sitting days, not including days taken for training purposes or sickness, since appointment in a fee paid capacity.
Standard eligibility clauses for JAC selection exercises
In addition to the Lord Chancellor’s policy regarding previous experience, candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the jurisdiction to allow them to sit immediately after appointment. It is therefore expected that candidates will have substantial knowledge of the magistrates’ court jurisdiction.
Please read the competency framework for the role before making your application.
Throughout the exercise you will be assessed against the competency framework for a District Judge (Magistrates' Court) and you will have to provide specific examples in your self assessment to demonstrate your suitability for the role.
Open for applications: 21 March 2017
Close for applications: 4 April 2017
Independent assessments requested: 5 April 2017
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 19 April 2017
Shortlisting paper sift: 20 to 27 April 2017
Outcome of shortlisting issued: 12 May 2017
Character consent forms to be returned by 19 May 2017
Selection Day: 5 to 9 June 2017
Outcome of selection days issued: end of August 2017
Update: Due to a request for further information by the Appropriate Authority in this exercise the JAC was not able to inform candidates of the outcome of their selection day at end August, and aims to do so in late September.
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.
Please ensure that you read the competencies for the post and the job description before making your application. There are 5 competencies in total which list the behaviours of a District Judge (Magistrates' Court) who is performing the role effectively.
The self-assessment section of the application 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 into the post to enable you to perform effectively in the role. You should link your examples to the competencies required for the post and take into account the requirements of the job description. The self-assessment should not simply be a reiteration of your career history.
Guidance on completing the candidate self-assessment is available here.
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 5 April 2017 and must be returned by 19 April 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 on which assessments will be requested and the date on which 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.
Shortlisting is by way of a paper sift, taking into account the information contained in your application and independent assessments. Candidates will be assessed throughout the process against the competencies for the post (see Competency Framework above). We will not be providing feedback to candidates from the sift for this exercise.
Candidates who are successful in the paper sift will proceed to the interview stage.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a selection day, which are scheduled to take place 5 to 9 June 2017. The JAC is unable to arrange alternative dates.
The selection day for this exercise will comprise of situational questioning and a competency based interview during which the selection panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post. Situational questioning involves asking you what you would do in a specific situation, based on challenging, real-life scenarios. Further details of the situational questions with reading materials will be sent along with the invitation to selection day.
The overall assessment made by the panel takes account of evidence from your application, the selection day, and independent assessments. This evidence will be provided to the Commissioners when they make their selection decisions.
More information about selection day, including interviews
The JAC provides reasonable adjustments to ensure that candidates with disabilities 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.
As required by the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013, 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 whom it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
A signed copy of the 050 District Judge (Magistrates Court) consent form should be completed and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org by 13:00 on 19 May 2017.
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.
Equal merit provision
In line with its published policy, the Commission will apply the equal merit provision to this exercise.
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 District Judges that are women is 31% and of those who declared their ethnicity 4% declared they were from a BAME background.
Diversity information for previous selection exercises is available through 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.
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 Appropriate Authority.
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.
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 August 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.
If you are offered a post you will normally be expected to take up the vacancy within 6 months.
General advice about the selection process is available here
Training will be provided as required. The successful candidates will have access to the judicial college training prospectus on appointment.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact email@example.com or a member of the selection exercise team:
For general enquiries call 020 3334 0123