Launch date: 13:00 on 23 March 2017
Closing date: 13:00 on 13 April 2017
Number of vacancies: 116.5 vacancies across England and Wales
Salary: £133,506, Salary group 6.1
Overview of the role
Circuit Judges sit in the Crown and County Courts. It is the responsibility of the judge to exercise control over proceedings, both during the pre-trial stage and when presiding over the trial itself, ensuring the proceedings are conducted efficiently and fairly.
Judges sitting in the civil jurisdiction are expected to deal with the whole range of civil cases in the County Court, including: personal injury and clinical negligence claims, consumer credit and other cases involving personal debt, and housing and possession disputes, often involving actions by mortgage lenders or landlords.
Judges sitting in the crime jurisdiction are expected to deal with a broad range of criminal cases in the Crown Court. When presiding over a trial, a judge must balance the right of the defendant to a fair trial with the interests of the victims and witnesses. The judge must maintain order in the courtroom, and ensure the case is presented to the jury in a comprehensible fashion. The judge will also be required to pass sentence in the event of a guilty plea or conviction by the jury.
In the family jurisdiction, judges deal with a broad range of cases including those relating to financial relief, private children’s cases and public children’s cases. Following a contested family hearing it will be necessary to deliver a reasoned judgment, often extempore, making appropriate findings of fact and applying the law in a way which makes clear to the parties why the court has reached its decision. Family cases can involve high emotions which must be effectively managed by the judge.
Circuit Judges are part of a team; successful candidates will be expected to play a full part in the work of the team, assisting colleagues in dealing with the overall workload of the court and taking on ancillary roles as required.
Outline Terms and Conditions
Judicial Pensions – What you need to know
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 1993
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 2015
Location and jurisdiction
A Circuit Judge must live within reasonable travelling distance of the court(s) at which he or she will sit. No application for a transfer may be made until a judge has served 5 years in the circuit to which they are appointed.
Some vacancies focus on one jurisdiction only, others are predominantly in crime, civil or family with some work required across other jurisdictions.
For those posts that are predominantly a single jurisdiction, candidates may wish to be aware (depending on experience and subject to business needs), that you will be expected to sit in other jurisdictions. This will be discussed upon appointment.
Details of the vacancies available are below.
Immediate vacancies across England and Wales:
- 18 civil or predominantly civil (these are across London/South East, Midlands, Western, Wales and Northern Circuits)
- 48.5 crime or predominantly crime (these are across all circuits, but the majority are in London/South East)
- 34 family or predominantly family (these are across all circuits)
Future vacancies across England and Wales
- 3 civil or predominantly civil across the Midlands and Western Circuits
- 6 crime or predominantly crime (these are across Midlands, North East and Western Circuits)
- 7 family or predominantly family (these are across London/South East, Wales and Northern Circuits)
Information on selection for future vacancies is available.
There are no Welsh language requirements for posts in Wales.
Your posting preferences
You are required to indicate in your application the circuits you do NOT wish to be considered for. Location information will be collated for deployment purposes only and will be used by the senior judiciary as part of deployment discussions. It is, therefore, very important that you consider which locations you are prepared to work in. Please note that selections are made solely on merit.
Advice on selecting location and jurisdiction preferences is available.
Salaried part-time working
Salaried part-time working (SPTW) may be available for some posts subject to it having no material adverse impact on the business needs of the courts or the services to users. The availability of SPTW will be agreed locally by the senior judiciary and HMCTS subject to business need. Where SPTW is available, it can only be accommodated by working full weeks and in block periods of at least 6 weeks. You are required to state on your application if you are interested in SPTW. This information is collected for deployment purposes only.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements. 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 section 16(3) of the Courts Act 1971, no person shall be qualified to be appointed a Circuit Judge unless he or she:
(a) satisfies the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 7 year basis or
(b) is a Recorder or
(c) has held as a full-time appointment for at least 3 years one of the offices listed in Part 1A of Schedule 2 to the Courts Act 1971
The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE Act) 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 been gaining legal experience
The meaning of gaining legal experience is set out in section 52(2) to (5) of the TCE Act and relates to a period engaged in law related activities. "Relevant legal qualification" means a barrister or a solicitor. In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment, a solicitor must appear on the Roll.
Candidates must be either a UK citizen, a citizen of another Commonwealth country, or a citizen of 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 Circuit Judge must allow for a reasonable length of service of 5 years before retirement.
The Commission will make the decision as to whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Additional selection criteria
The Lord Chancellor expects that candidates for salaried posts will have sufficient directly relevant previous judicial experience or experience in an equivalent body. 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. The meaning of “directly relevant experience” is sitting as a judge in a salaried or fee-paid capacity or a similar role in an equivalent body.
The Lord Chancellor's expectation that candidates have previous judicial experience has been extended for this exercise to include experience in an equivalent body. As a general rule an ‘equivalent body’ should be of a quasi-judicial nature, such as an arbitrator or tribunal board. The powers and procedures should resemble those of a court of law and involve highly complex matters, requiring its members objectively to determine the facts and draw conclusions in order to reach a reasoned decision. Such decisions could result in the imposition of a penalty, and are likely to affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties.
‘Equivalent bodies’ could include, but are not restricted to disciplinary tribunals, conduct hearings, arbitrators, Magistrates and Parole Board Members.
It will be for the Commission to determine whether or not a candidate’s involvement in an ‘equivalent body’ is sufficient to demonstrate the necessary transferable skills required of a Circuit Judge.
Posts in Wales
Candidates for posts in Wales need to have an understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales, including legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. This will be assessed at selection day.
Throughout the exercise you will be assessed against the competency framework for a Circuit Judge, you will have to provide specific examples in your self-assessment to demonstrate your suitability for the role.
Read the Competency Framework and the job description for the role before making your application. In no more than 250 words for each competency, you will be required to demonstrate the necessary skills and abilities through specific examples from your own experiences.
Open for applications: 23 March 2017
Close for applications, including part 1 of the self-assessment and statement of suitability: 13 April 2017
Independent assessments requested: 18 April 2017
Deadline for receipt of Independent assessments: 2 May 2017
Outcome of shortlisting issued, including request for successful candidates to complete part 2 of the self-assessment (additional 3 competencies): 23 May 2017
Deadline for the submission of completed self-assessment (additional 3 competencies): 7 June 2017
Selection days: 21 June to 30 June 2017
Additional interviews (if required following application of the equal merit provision): Week commencing 25 September 2017. Further information regarding the equal merit provision can be found below.
Outcome of selection days issued: End October 2017
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed.
Listen to the podcast with Rajeev Shetty about being a Circuit Judge.
Completing your application
For this exercise there is a 2-part application. Before you apply you must create an account on the JAC website or log into an existing account. To complete part 1 of the application, click on the green apply button located on the Circuit Judge 2017 page, complete all sections, and submit your application by 13:00 on 13 April 2017. Part 2 of the application will be required of all candidates who are successful after shortlisting.
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 Circuit Judge 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 giving regard to the job description. The self-assessment should not simply be a reiteration of your career history.
When applying, you will only be required to provide evidence against 2 competencies:
- Exercising Judgement
- Assimilating and Clarifying Information
If you are successful after shortlisting, you will be invited to complete a self-assessment for the remaining 3 competencies:
- Possessing and Building Knowledge
- Working and Communicating with Others
- Managing Work Efficiently
Candidates who do not submit the additional competency information by the deadline will not proceed to selection day.
Guidance on completing the candidate self-assessment, including tips on how to choose the best examples, is available.
Jurisdictional information: Statement of Suitability
When applying, you will also be required to complete a statement of suitability for each of the jurisdictions you apply for. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how your knowledge and experience makes you suitable for appointment to the jurisdiction/s applied for.
Note that whilst you may apply for more than one jurisdiction, selections are made solely on merit and you will only be recommended to, and offered, one post. You should, therefore, consider your preferences carefully.
Please read the Jurisdictional information before making your application.
Guidance on completing a Statement of Suitability
For each jurisdiction you are applying for, in no more than 250 words, you must provide evidence of your experience and transferable skills to demonstrate how you have the ability to undertake the role described in the Jurisdictional Information. Further advice relating to each jurisdiction can be found below.
Candidates are advised to emphasise evidence of transferable skills such as: an ability to deal with regulatory issues, the mastering of technical regulation in a field, and an ability to demonstrate skills that would be especially useful in the areas of personal injury, consumer credit, and housing.
Candidates are advised to emphasise evidence of transferable skills such as: being able to manage difficult situations in a calm way that ensures all parties are reasonably satisfied with the outcome, the ability to make nuanced and balanced decisions speedily, and the ability to think expeditiously in a pressurised environment.
Candidates are advised to emphasise evidence of transferable skills such as: exercising control over proceedings and making reasoned decisions efficiently and fairly, proactive case management, and the ability to manage emotive participants who are often acting in person.
Shortlisting is by way of paper sift, taking into account the information contained in your application and independent assessments. The panel will assess part 1 of the self-assessment and the independent assessments against the competency framework, and assess the statement(s) of suitability against the jurisdictional information.
As noted above, you will only be required to provide evidence against 2 competencies (Exercising Judgement and Assimilating and Clarifying Information) in part 1 of the self-assessment for this exercise. If you are successful after shortlisting, you will be required to submit evidence for the remaining 3 competencies in part 2 of the self-assessment.
We will not be providing feedback to candidates from the initial sift for this exercise.
When applying, you will be required to submit contact details for your independent assessors. 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.
The JAC will seek independent assessments for all candidates on all 5 competencies. The JAC uses independent assessments as evidence of your suitability for the role. You should always nominate an assessor who can provide recent examples of your performance.
Independent assessments will be requested on 18 April 2017 and must be returned by 2 May 2017. Late independent assessments may not be considered, therefore you are advised to notify your assessors in advance that you intend to apply and inform them of the date we will be requesting the assessment.
Whilst there are 4 boxes for assessor details you are only required to provide a maximum of 2 assessors.
You must ensure the correct details (title and email addresses) are provided. All correspondence with your independent assessors will be by email. It is therefore imperative you ensure the details are correct to avoid any delays in your assessor being contacted. Please ensure you only nominate a maximum of 2 assessors in line with the categories below:
- if you are a fee-paid judge you will need to provide one judicial assessor and one professional assessor
- if you are a salaried judge you will need to provide 2 judicial assessors
- if you do not currently hold a judicial post, you will need to provide 2 professional assessors, one of whom may be a judge who is able to provide an assessment of your professional role
These are from someone who can provide evidence based examples of your performance in your profession against the competencies for this post. One of these professional independent assessors should ideally be your line manager, head of chambers, or equivalent.
These are from a relevant judge who can provide evidence based examples of your performance as a judicial office holder against the competencies for this post. These are required only if you currently hold a fee-paid or salaried judicial appointment. One of these judicial independent assessors must be your leadership judge, appraiser or equivalent.
Please do not nominate a JAC Commissioner as an independent assessor. In addition you should not nominate the Senior Presiding Judge or the Lord Chief Justice as independent assessors, as they are the Statutory Consultee and Appropriate Authority respectively.
If you have any queries about who to nominate as your independent assessors please contact the JAC to discuss further.
For those candidates successful after shortlisting, 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. The information you list under the 'Previous judicial or equivalent experience' heading in your application will be used as part of the statutory consultation process.
More information on statutory consultation is available
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day which will take place in London between 21 June and 30 June 2017. We will not be able to accommodate selection days outside of this period.
The selection day for this exercise will comprise situational questioning and a competency based interview, where the selection panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post.
The overall assessment by the panel is provided to the Commission when they make their selection decisions.
If you have applied for, and are shortlisted for, more than one jurisdiction, you will attend one selection day. You will be required to complete situational questioning for your preferred jurisdiction and a competency-based interview. Following this you will be required to complete situational questioning for each additional jurisdiction. Each set of situational questioning will require preparation in advance of selection day. Therefore carefully consider whether or not you wish to apply for more than one jurisdiction.
If you apply for and are shortlisted for a post in Wales, you will be asked additional questions during your competency based interview in relation 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. This will require you to undertake additional preparation in advance of selection day. If you are considered unsuitable for the posts in Wales, this will not affect your suitability for posts in England.
Additional information about attending a selection day is available
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. Candidates will have the option to outline their reasonable adjustment requirements on their JAC website account.
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 consent form will be required of all candidates who are invited to selection day.
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. 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 policy 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 Circuit Judges that are women is 26% and of those who declared their ethnicity, 4% 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. The provisional date for the second interview is the week commencing 25 September 2017.
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 Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor.
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. The Lord Chief Justice will inform the Lord Chancellor of the recommendations.
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 October 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 post within 6 months.
A general overview of the selection process is available
Training will be provided as required dependant on the successful candidates. In addition they will have access to the judicial college prospectus on appointment.
It is also expected that candidates will either already be authorised to try cases involving serious sexual offences, or will be willing and able immediately to meet the criteria for such authorisation. The Serious Sexual Offences Induction seminar is a 2-day residential that takes place 13 to 14 November 2017 or 22 to 23 June 2018.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact a member of the selection exercise team at email@example.com
Richard Collumbell, Selection Exercise Team Manager
Telephone: 020 3334 5587
Hayley Devine, Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager
Telephone: 020 3334 6601