Launch date: 13:00 on Wednesday 31 January 2018
Closing date: 13:00 on Wednesday 14 February 2018
Number of vacancies: Up to 250 immediate vacancies. During the course of this selection exercise, the vacancy request was increased to 285
Number of applications: 1,623
Number of selections: 285. Further data on this exercise, including diversity data, will be published by the JAC as part of its annual official statistics bulletin.
Fee: £491.69 a day across all chambers with the exception of London, where the fee is £509.87 day
You should first consider whether you are ready to apply for this role, and so may wish to look at the ‘Am I Ready?’ tools on the JAC website.
Overview of the First-tier Tribunal
The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 created a 2-tier tribunal system: a First-tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal. The new structure brought together individual tribunals that had similar interests or operating practices into Chambers.
The First-tier Tribunal Chambers are:
- Immigration and Asylum
- Social Entitlement
- War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation
- Health, Education and Social Care
- General Regulatory
Each Chamber is headed by a chamber president; overall responsibility for the tribunal system and judiciary rests with the Senior President of Tribunals.
View the tribunals structure and find out more about the jurisdictions within each chamber.
Tribunals often sit as panels consisting of a legally qualified chair (the judge) and non-legal members with specific areas of expertise, though certain types of cases or appeals can be presided over by a judge sitting alone. Except in cases that involve national security or evidence of a very personal nature, substantive final hearings in tribunal cases are held in public.
During the hearing the judge must ensure that the overriding objective (to deal with cases fairly and justly) is observed, which will include all parties having the opportunity to participate in proceedings as fully and fairly as possible. Many cases involve individuals putting their own case forward without legal assistance. The judge should therefore help ensure the system is accessible to all by guiding parties through the procedures appropriately.
During the case, the judge and non-legal members can ask questions on any point that needs clarification or which will assist the tribunal in reaching a decision. The judge also decides on all matters of procedure that may arise during a hearing.
Before reaching a decision, the tribunal will consider the evidence and hear submissions from both parties. The tribunal’s decision will then be given either at the hearing, or later in writing. In either case, the parties receive a written decision.
Terms and Conditions
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 1993
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 2015
Initial assignments are currently expected across the following Chambers:
- Immigration and Asylum
- Social Entitlement
- War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation
- Health, Education and Social Care (HESC)
Business requirements may change over the course of the exercise and assignments could, therefore, arise in the Tax and General Regulatory Chambers as well.
All assignments are subject to business needs. Candidates appointed to the First-tier Tribunal may be assigned to any First-tier Chamber throughout the course of the their appointments.
If any applicant recommended for appointment has a conflict of interest which would prevent them sitting in a particular chamber (for example, due to the nature of their current employment), this will be considered at assignment stage. Any decisions on assignment to a particular chamber will be agreed with the relevant senior judge or chamber president.
Information for current First-tier Tribunal Judges
If you already hold an appointment as a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal it is not necessary for you to apply through this competition in order to seek further or alternative assignment to another chamber.
This competition is for those seeking an appointment which you already hold. The Senior President of Tribunal’s assignment policy enables cross-assignment without the need for the JAC to run a selection exercise.
An internal Expressions of Interest (EOI) exercise is expected to launch in February. It will be open to all serving judges of the First-tier Tribunal. Vacancies are likely to be across all jurisdictions. In total, around 200 assignments are expected to be required across each of the chambers in accordance with respective jurisdictional business needs.
It is anticipated that the EOI exercise, with a streamlined process, will facilitate more expedient assignments to be made by the Senior President of Tribunals, and is intended to be completed before the end of this competition.
Successful candidates should be flexible and be willing to travel to various hearing venues as and when required to meet business need. These locations will be, as far as possible, near to candidates’ homes and offices but on occasion they may be required to sit further afield.
In HESC (Mental Health), panels sit in hospitals all over England and fee-paid judges are expected to make their own transport arrangements. A fee-paid judge may be required to travel from one venue in the morning to another venue in the afternoon.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post.
Judges of the First-tier Tribunal are appointed by the Senior President of Tribunals (SPT) under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, as amended by paragraph 42(2) of Schedule 13 to the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
To be eligible for appointment as a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, you must meet the following requirements:
Under paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE) a person is eligible for appointment as a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal if the person:
(a) satisfies the judicial-appointment eligibility condition* on a 5-year basis
(b) is an advocate or solicitor in Scotland of at least 5 years’ standing
(c) is a barrister or solicitor in Northern Ireland of at least 5 years’ standing or
(d) in the SPT’s opinion, has gained experience in law which makes the person as suitable for appointment as if the person satisfied any of paragraphs (a) to (c)
*The judicial-appointment eligibility condition was introduced by the TCE and requires candidates to have held a relevant qualification, for the requisite period during which time they must have gained experience in law, as set out in section 52(2) to (5) of the TCE Act.
For this exercise, a relevant qualification means solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, or Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. The requisite post-qualification period is 5 years. The JAC will measure the requisite period from the start date of the relevant legal qualification (such as completed pupillage date) up to the date that the JAC sends the letter to the relevant appropriate authority with recommendations for appointment.
In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment a solicitor must appear on the Roll.
Candidates who wish to apply under Schedule 2, category (d) will have the opportunity to state this on the online application form.
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.
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. This includes legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements.
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 Judge of the First-tier Tribunal should allow for a reasonable length of service which, for this competition, will usually be 4 years before retirement.
The Commission will decide whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Candidates who already hold a judicial appointment and were first appointed before March 1995 may have a preserved retirement age of 72. This includes candidates first appointed to a judicial office listed in Schedule 7 to the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. Such candidates should inform the JAC about their retirement age.
Open for applications: 13:00 on Wednesday 31 January
Close for applications: 13:00 on Wednesday 14 February
Qualifying test preparation material and instructions sent to candidates: Tuesday 27 February by 19:00
Online qualifying test: 07:00 to 21:00 on 6 March
Eligibility checks being conducted: March to April
Outcome of online qualifying test issued: by Friday 11 May
Request of independent assessments: 9 May
Formal selection day invitation issued: week commencing 21 May (by noon Thursday 24 May)
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 13:00 on 30 May
Selection days: 18 June to 3 August
Character checks being conducted: August to September
Statutory consultation comments sought: September to October
Outcome of selection process expected by: Mid December
Throughout the selection process candidates will be assessed against a competency framework. There are 5 competencies in total that list the behaviours of a fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal who is performing the role effectively.
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on Wednesday 31 January 2018, closing at 13:00 on Wednesday 14 February 2018.
In the interest of fairness to all candidates, late applications will not be accepted unless agreed with the selection exercise manager in advance of the application deadline and will only be considered due to exceptional circumstances.
Applications must be submitted on the JAC’s online application system which will be accessible by selecting the ‘Apply’ button on the competition homepage once the exercise launches. After selecting ‘Apply’ select ‘log in to an existing account’ if you already have an account. If you do not already have an account select ‘Create new account’. Complete all the required sections, ensuring the information you provide is clear and accurate.
The self-assessment section of the application is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to perform effectively in the role; it should not simply be a reiteration of your career history. For each competency you must provide specific examples from your own experiences, describing the situation, your role, what you did, and the outcome. You must be concise as you are limited to 250 words for each competency.
Guidance on completing the candidate self-assessment and choosing the best examples in your self-assessment.
Read the guidance about independent assessments before completing your application. Although independent assessments will only be sought for candidates shortlisted to attend a selection day, all candidates must provide their assessors’ contact details in their online application.
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.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the competencies relevant to the role of a First-tier Tribunal Judge. Both of your assessors must, therefore, have sound and comprehensive knowledge of your work and 1 of your assessors should, ideally, be from your current employment. Depending on whether you already hold judicial office or not will determine the category or categories of assessors you must nominate as follows:
If you are a salaried judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of 2 judicial assessors.
If you are a fee-paid judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of 1 judicial assessor and 1 professional assessor.
If you do not currently hold a judicial office, you will need to provide details of 2 professional assessors.
A professional assessor could be:
- a senior partner or head of chambers if you are a solicitor, barrister, attorney or Fellow of CILEx
- a client, magistrate or local authority official if you are a sole practitioner
- a line manager if you are from a non-legal background; if there is no line manager, then a former colleague or client
- a judge who is able to provide an assessment of your professional role
If you are a judicial office holder, a judicial assessor could be:
- the senior judge of the tribunal, court, jurisdiction or circuit where you sit most often or your appraising judge
- the Lord Justice Clerk or Sheriff Principal if you are a Sheriff (Scotland only)
You must ensure all of the details (name, title and email address) are correct for both of your assessors. All correspondence with your assessors will be by email; it is important that the information you provide is correct to avoid any delay in the JAC being able to contact your nominated assessors.
Do not nominate Judge John Aitken, Judge Greg Sinfield, the Lord President of the Court of Sessions or the Senior President of Tribunals as independent assessors, as they are the Lead Judge, Statutory Consultees and the Appropriate Authority respectively. Nor should you nominate a JAC Commissioner.
If you have any queries about who to nominate as your independent assessors please contact the JAC.
As previously stated, assignments as a result of this competition are expected to be across 5 out of 7 First-tier Tribunal chambers. However, as business requirements may change throughout the exercise you are required to rank all 7 First-tier Tribunal chambers in order of preference on your application; 1 being your preferred choice and 7 being your least preferred.
While Judicial Office will do its best to assign successful candidates in line with their preferences, it may not always be possible to do so depending on business need. You may, therefore, be assigned to ANY of the 7 First-tier Tribunal chambers. In circumstances where the preferences of candidates do not match vacancy requirements, Judicial Office may take account of the order of merit to give those who are most meritorious priority of assignment to their preferred chamber.
Candidates will be shortlisted for invitation to selection day by means of an online qualifying test.
The test will be conducted online on Tuesday 6 March 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00 and accessed through your online JAC account.
The test is 2 hours long and is divided into 3 parts:
- Part 1: 40-minute multiple choice test with 21 questions (testing Situational Judgement)
- Part 2: 40-minute multiple choice test with 20 questions (testing Critical Analysis)
- Part 3: 40-minute scenario-based test requiring 2 written answers of 600 words each
You will have the option of taking a break in between each part.
You will need to complete all 3 parts between 07:00 and 21:00 on Tuesday 6 March 2018. If you plan to sit the test in one sitting with short breaks in between, we advise that you start the test no later than 18:45 in order to allow yourself the maximum available time to complete.
All candidates should make the necessary arrangements to sit the test in a suitable and quiet environment ensuring consistent and reliable access to a stable internet connection.
On Tuesday 27 February (one week in advance of the test) you will receive full instructions on how to take the test plus preparation material. The instructions will be issued to the email address you provide in your online application.
If you do not receive this email by 19:00 on Tuesday 27 February please contact the JAC immediately. We advise all candidates to set aside at least 2 hours' reading time in the week preceding the test to study the preparation material.
Outcome of shortlisting
The outcome of shortlisting will be emailed to candidates by 19:00 on Tuesday 8 May 2018.
The online qualifying test will be used as a shortlisting tool only, and will play no further role in the selection process.
Following shortlisting the JAC will produce a feedback report analysing how candidates performed overall. This report will also include information on the method of marking, including guidance and answers to the questions.
This report will be published on the JAC website towards the end of the selection exercise. The JAC cannot provide bespoke feedback for individual candidates at the shortlisting stage.
If you are shortlisted you will be invited to attend a selection day which are scheduled to take place between:
- Monday 18 June 2018 and Friday 29 June
- Monday 9 July and Friday 20 July
- Monday 30 July and Friday 3 August 2018
Alternative dates cannot be accommodated. Selection days are due to take place in London, Leeds, Cardiff, and Glasgow.
Candidates who are shortlisted will be asked to provide their availability and venue preferences when notified of the outcome of the shortlisting stage.
The selection day will comprise a role play and competency-based interview. The panel will also assess self-assessments and independent assessments at this stage. Further details will be sent with the formal letter inviting you to attend which you will receive during the week commencing 21 May 2018. If you have not received an email by 12:00 noon on 24 May 2018 please contact the JAC immediately.
Candidates applying for posts in Wales will be asked some additional questions at selection day relating to Welsh matters. If you are considered unsuitable for the Welsh posts, this will not affect your suitability for posts in England.
More information about selection day, including interviews and role plays
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 we are selecting for, or who has other relevant experience. In this exercise the JAC will consult with Judge Greg Sinfield, President of the First-tier Tribunal, Tax Chamber. The information provided by the statutory consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
For posts in Scotland, the JAC will also consult with the Lord President for Scottish appointments before recommendation.
Information on statutory consultation
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.
All candidates shortlisted for selection day will be requested to provide a signed copy of a consent form which will be included in the selection day invitation.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 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.
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 2017), 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 First-tier Tribunal judges that are women is 47% and of those who declared their ethnicity 15% declared they were from a BAME background.
The Committee may be presented with a situation whereby it is unable to choose between 2 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. The Committee will, therefore, 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 12 November 2018.
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 - which for this exercise is the Senior President of Tribunals - may request any information that was available to the JAC in making its recommendation. Information you provide in your application or during the selection process could be passed onto the Appropriate Authority.
The Appropriate Authority can accept or reject a recommendation or ask the Commission to reconsider but may not select an alternative candidate.
For posts in Scotland the Senior President of Tribunals must consult with Scottish Ministers before appointment decisions.
Outcome of the exercise
The JAC will issue results by email to all those interviewed at the same time. We hope this will be by mid December 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.
Training will be provided as required. The successful candidate(s) will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus on appointment.
Successful candidates will be expected to attend a Residential Induction training (up to 4 days) will take place within the period 4 and15 March 2019. Candidates must ensure that they are available to attend training during this period. Successful candidates will be advised of the exact dates of their training towards the final stages of the selection exercise.
In addition, candidates will be required to undertake 2 days of observations, ideally one day before and one day after the induction.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact:
Email Enquiries: FPJTribs084@judicialappointments.gov.uk
General Enquiries: 020 3334 0123
Richard Collumbell: Selection Exercise Manager on 020 3334 5587
Jennifer Ballance: Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager on 020 3334 6376