The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications for Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts)
Launch date: 13:00 on 20 September 2018
Closing date: 13:00 on 4 October 2018
Number of vacancies: 30 vacancies across England and Wales (including 2 Welsh speaking posts), including specific shortfalls in Wales and south west England.
Fee: £503.12 a day. £521.72 a day in London, including additional payment.
If your principal court is in London, or you sit 40% or more of your sitting days in London, your fee rate will include an additional payment (comprising the pro rata equivalent of the salary lead and London allowance 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 information provided here Am I Ready?
Overview of the role
Deputy District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) have a national jurisdiction throughout England and Wales. They sit on a fee-paid basis in the Magistrates’ Courts, presiding over court proceedings by applying the Criminal Procedure Rules and ensuring appropriate case management at the first hearing; controlling (in accordance with the relevant law and practice) the manner in which cases are conducted; maintaining the authority and dignity of the Court; and deciding issues of law and procedure which may arise during a case.
Deputy District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) consider and decide applications for bail and decide cases (including the determination of guilt or innocence) by finding facts and applying the relevant law to them.
In the adult crime court, Deputy District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) sentence convicted defendants according to the law and the circumstances of the case; determine issues of penalty point endorsement and/or disqualification from driving; determine the amount and manner of payment of compensation orders, surcharges and costs and impose ancillary orders where available and appropriate.
DDJ (MC) Terms and Conditions
DDJ (MC) Job Description
Judicial pensions guide 1993
Judicial pensions guide 2015
Deputy District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) are appointed nationally. Successful candidates will be formally appointed to England and Wales and assigned to a circuit.
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed.
To be considered for appointment, you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post. We will not be assessing eligibility until the end of January 2019. It is therefore your responsibility, and in your own interests, to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application.
Under s24 of the Courts Act 2003, as amended by para 38(3) of Schedule 10 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement (TCE) Act 2007, a person must satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 5 year basis.
The TCE Act 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
- whilst holding that qualification, you have gained experience in law
The meaning of “gain experience in law” is set out in s52(2) to s52(5) of the TCE Act 2007 and relates to a period engaged in law related activities. Relevant qualification means a barrister, a solicitor or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment, a solicitor must appear on the Roll.
You may wish to note that service as a magistrate (Justice of Peace) is not considered demonstrative of gaining experience in the law or as being equivalent to previous judicial experience.
Additional selection criteria
The Lord Chancellor expects that candidates must be able to demonstrate knowledge and experience of criminal law and procedure. Candidates must demonstrate this in 250 words in Part 1 of their application.
Posts in Wales
Candidates for posts in Wales need to have an understanding, or the ability to acquire an understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales. This includes legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. This will be assessed at selection day.
Welsh speaking posts
Welsh language, including the ability to read and write in Welsh, is required for 2 posts. These posts require both an understanding, or the ability to acquire an understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales (including legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements) and the ability to speak Welsh. The Welsh speaking element will not be tested at selection day but will be conducted over the telephone with a Welsh speaking panel. The telephone call will consist of the judge asking up to 2 questions which require a response in Welsh. The assessment will take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
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 (Magistrates’ Courts) should allow for a reasonable length of service. For this position it is usually 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 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.
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.
Conflicts of interest: Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Government Legal Service (GLS)
We welcome applications from lawyers in the CPS, SFO and GLS.
However, CPS and SFO lawyers are not able to sit in criminal jurisdictions due to potential conflicts of interest. The Magistrates’ Court hears mainly criminal cases.
Therefore, if CPS and SFO lawyers are recommended for appointment as a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts), they will be expected to resign in order to take up their appointment.
Open for Part 1 applications: 20 September 2018 at 13:00
Close for Part 1 applications: 4 October 2018 at 13:00
Qualifying test instructions issued by email: By 12 October 2018
Online qualifying test: 17 October 2018
Outcome of online qualifying test issued: By 2 November 2018
Online Scenario test instructions issued by email: By 16 November 2018
Online Scenario test: 21 November 2018
Eligibility checks being conducted: end of January 2019
Outcome of online scenario test issued. Request for shortlisted candidates to complete Part 2 of their application: By 1 February 2019
Request for independent assessments: By 1 February 2019
Deadline for the submission of Part 2 of the application: 7 February 2019
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 15 February 2019
Formal selection day invitation issued: By 15 February 2019
Selection days: 4 to 12 March 2019 (Welsh language telephone interview 13 March)
Statutory consultation comments sought: March to April 2019
Character checks being conducted: March to April 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: End of May 2019
Read the competency framework for the role and the job description before making your application. There are 5 competencies in total that list the behaviours of a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) who is performing the role effectively.
Your online application plays an important part in the selection process. You must complete all required sections, ensuring that the information you provide is clear and accurate.
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 to the post and why they will enable you to perform effectively in the role. You should link your examples to the competencies required for the post, having regard to the job description. The self-assessment should not simply be a reiteration of your career history.
Please refer to the 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 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 Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts). 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. Whether you already hold judicial office will determine the category or categories of assessors you must nominate:
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 or attorney
- a client, magistrate or local authority official if you are a sole practitioner
- 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
You must ensure that 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 Presiding Judge and the Lord Chief Justice as independent assessors as they are the lead judges, Statutory Consultee and the Appropriate Authority respectively. Nor should you nominate a JAC Commissioner.
All candidates are advised to contact their independent assessors in advance of submitting their application. If you have any queries about who to nominate as your independent assessors, please contact the JAC.
Stage 1: Online qualifying test
All applicants will receive qualifying test instructions by email by 12 October 2018. If you have not received this email by noon on 15 October 2018 please contact the JAC immediately.
All applicants will be invited to participate in an online qualifying test on 17 October 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00.
Stage 2: Online scenario test
If you are successful in the online qualifying test (stage 1), you will be invited to sit an online scenario test.
You will receive online scenario test instructions by email by 16 November 2018. If you have not received this email by noon on 19 November 2018 please contact the JAC immediately.
Applicants will be invited to participate in an online scenario test on 21 November 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00.
If you are unable to sit the tests on the date specified above due to exceptional circumstances or because it is a religious holiday, please email DDJMC104@judicialappointments.gov.uk and we will arrange for you to take the test on a later date (which will fall no more than a week after the original date).
The results of the stage 2 online scenario test will be sent by email by 1 February 2019.
Following each of the 2 shortlisting stages in this exercise, 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 information on the distribution of marks available to applicants.
This report will be published on the JAC website. The JAC cannot provide bespoke feedback for individual candidates at the shortlisting stages; please do not make a request as exceptions are not made.
If you are successful in the stage 2 online scenario test, you will be invited to a selection day. The selection days will take place between 4 March and 12 March 2019 . We will not be able to offer an alternative selection day outside of this period.
The selection days will take place at venues in London and Manchester; you will be asked to indicate your preferred selection day location and your availability in Part 2 of the application form. Where possible, we will take into account your preference. However, due to the number of candidates and locations involved, we cannot guarantee that you will be offered a selection day at your preferred location.
The selection day will comprise a role play followed by a competency-based interview. The panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post. Further details will be sent with the formal invitation to attend which you will receive by 15 February 2019. If you have not received this email by noon on 18 February 2019 please contact the JAC immediately.
Candidates applying for posts in Wales will be asked some additional questions at selection day relating 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. If you are considered unsuitable for the Welsh posts, this will not affect your suitability for a post in England.
Please note that the Welsh speaking element will be tested outside of your selection day over the telephone. This will take place on 13 March.
Please note that selections are made solely on merit.
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 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 in 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 consent.
All candidates shortlisted for selection day will be requested to complete a consent form which will be included in Part 2 of your application form.
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 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 2018), 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 11.3% of the UK population identified as being from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority ("BAME") background. The proportion of Deputy District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) that are women is 34% and, of those who declared their ethnicity, 7% indicated that they were from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (BAME) background.
If the JAC has applied the equal merit provision, it 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. Therefore the JAC will invite those candidates to attend a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision. The second interviews, if required, will provisionally be held between 7 and 10 May 2019.
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
The JAC will issue results by email to all those interviewed at the same time. We hope that this will be by the end of May 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.
The successful candidates will be required to attend a 4 to 5 day residential course, the dates of which are to be confirmed.
Depending on the successful candidates, up to 5 days sittings-in or observations may be required.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact a member of the selection exercise team:
Email enquiries: DDJMC104@judicialappointments.gov.uk
General enquiries: 020 3334 0123
Selection Exercise Manager: Gemma Montgomery
Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager: Richard Collumbell