The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications for Deputy District Judge.
Launch date: 13:00 on Thursday 1 March 2018
Closing date: 13:00 on Thursday 15 March 2018
Number of vacancies: 303 vacancies across England and Wales
Fee: £503.12 a day with the exception of London, where the fee is £521.72.
If your Principal Court is in London, or you sit the majority of your sitting days in London, your fee rate may include an additional payment comprised of the pro rata equivalent of both a salary lead and a London allowance received by District Judges appointed to the London area (which currently stands at £4,000). Both the salary lead and the London allowance are taxable and are reckonable for pension purposes.
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 role
The activities of a Deputy District Judge are conducted both in public and in private, in the judge's hearing room, or in chambers. Some applications are dealt with on paper.
The main activities required of a Deputy District Judge include, but not limited to; preparing for trial and hearing actions, handling applications in the course of proceedings, determining applications on paper and deciding claims by finding facts and applying the relevant law to give a reasoned judgement. Other responsibilities include, keeping abreast of legal developments and maintaining personal development by way of attending refresher courses and continuation seminars.
Terms and Conditions
Judicial pensions information:
1993 Pension Scheme
New Pension Scheme
HMCTS National Map
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed. Please read the case studies of Ian Ashley-Smith, Juliette Coffey and Judith Ellery.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post.
Under sections 8 and 9 of the County Courts Act 1984, as amended by paragraph 15 of Schedule 10 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, as amended by Crime and Courts Act 2013 no person shall be appointed a district judge unless he satisfies the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 5-year basis.
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 solicitor, a barrister or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
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.
Additional selection criteria
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.
Welsh language, including reading and writing, is also essential for 4 posts that are expected to be located in Wales.
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 Deputy District Judge should allow for a reasonable length of service. For this position it is usually four years before retirement.
The Commission will decide whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Candidates who already hold 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 Thursday 1 March
Close for applications: 13:00 on Thursday 15 March
Qualifying test preparation material and instructions sent to candidates on Tuesday 10 April. Please note that, as this date falls within the Easter break, you should check your email and contact the JAC after 09:00am on Wednesday 11 April if you have any concerns.
Online qualifying test: 07:00 to 21:00 on 17 April
Eligibility checks being conducted: May to June
Outcome of online qualifying test issued: 21 June. The JAC will publish the online qualifying test feedback report on 4 July
Request for independent assessments: 22 June
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 13:00 on 13 July
Formal selection day invitation issued: end of July
Selection days: 9 August - 21 September
Character checks being conducted: October to November
Statutory consultation comments sought: October to November
Outcome of selection process expected by: End of February 2019
Read the competency framework for the role and the job description before making your application. There are five competencies in total that list the behaviours of a Deputy District Judge who is performing the role effectively.
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on Thursday 1 March 2018, closing at 13:00 on Thursday 15 March 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. 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.
When asked to provide details of your independent assessors you will see four boxes for the assessor details. However, you must give details of two assessors only. If you provide more than two we will only approach the first two listed.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the competencies relevant to the role of a Deputy District Judge. Both of your assessors must, therefore, have sound and comprehensive knowledge of your work and one 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 two judicial assessors. You should also discuss your application with your Leadership Judge.
If you are a fee-paid judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of one judicial assessor and one professional assessor.
If you do not currently hold a judicial office, you will need to provide details of two 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
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 the Senior President Judge or Lord Chief Justice as independent assessors, as they are the Statutory Consultee 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.
Final deployment decisions will be a matter for the Senior Presiding Judge. It may not always be possible to deploy successful candidates in line with their preferences, depending on business need. You may, therefore, be deployed to ANY of the regions. In circumstances where the preferences of candidates do not match vacancy requirements, the Senior Presiding Judge may take account of the order of merit to give those who are most meritorious priority of assignment to their preferred region.
Candidates will be shortlisted for invitation to selection day by means of an online qualifying test.
The test will be conducted online on Tuesday 17 April 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00 and accessed through your online JAC account.
The test is one hour and fifty minutes long and is divided into three parts:
- Part 1: 40 minute multiple choice test with 31 questions (testing Situational Judgement)
- Part 2: 30 minute multiple choice test with 18 questions (testing Critical Analysis)
- Part 3: 40 minute scenario-based test requiring 2 written answers
You will need to complete all three parts between 07:00 and 21:00 on Tuesday 17 April 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 it.
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.
Information about qualifying tests
On Tuesday 10 April (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 please contact the JAC after 9:00am on Wednesday 11 April.
Outcome of shortlisting
The outcome of shortlisting will be emailed to candidates by 21 June 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 example answers of the scenarios.
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:
- Thursday 9 August 2018 and Friday 17 August
- Tuesday 28 August and Friday 7 Sept
- Monday 17 September and Friday 21 September 2018
Alternative dates cannot be accommodated. Selection days are due to take place in London, Leeds, Manchester and Newport.
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 at the end of July. If you have not received an email please contact the JAC.
Candidates applying for posts in Wales will be asked some additional questions at selection day relating to Welsh matters. In addition, Welsh language, including reading and writing, is required for four of the posts expected in Wales. This will also be tested for those who wish to be considered for one of these posts. If you are considered unsuitable for the Welsh posts, this will not affect your suitability for posts in England.
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 the Senior Presiding Judge. The information provided by the statutory consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
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.
A signed copy of the consent form should be completed and returned to JAAS@judicialappointments.gov.uk by 1 August 2018.
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.
Please be aware that character declarations are not considered by the Commission until the end of the process.
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 2017), based upon primary appointment, as published on the Judiciary website.
The population of the United Kingdom ('usual residents') aged 25-74 that are women is 50.4% while BAME is 11.3%. The proportion of Deputy District Judges that are women is 36% and of those who declared their ethnicity 7% declared they were from a BAME background.
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 Lord Chief Justice - 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.
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 the end of February 2019.
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.
Newly appointed DDJs should complete at least two and no more than three of the requisite “sittings in” before attending the induction seminar. A further two days can be completed after induction (if required). The amount of days required is dependent on experience but must be completed before the DDJ is “signed off” to start sitting.
The induction is a week-long residential seminar (Monday to Friday). The seminar will be run six times over the following dates:
Seminar 1 – w/c 29 April 2019
Seminar 2 – w/c 13 May 2019
Seminar 3 – w/c 3 June 2019
Seminar 4 – w/c 17 June 2019
Seminar 5 – w/c 1 July 2019
Seminar 6 - w/c 15 July 2019
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact:
Email Enquiries: JAAS@judicialappointments.gov.uk
General Enquiries: 020 3334 0123
Shanaz Ehsan: Selection Exercise Manager on 020 3334 4716
Charlene Gordon: Senior Selection Exercise Manager on 020 3334 4613