The JAC invites applications for High Court judge.
Launch date: 13:00 on 18 October 2018
Closing date: 13:00 on 13 December 2018
Number of vacancies: up to 25
- at least 11 posts in the Queen’s Bench Division
- at least 6 posts in the Chancery Division
- at least 4 posts in the Family Division
Salary: Group 4 £185,197
The JAC has reviewed the selection process for the High Court exercise and introduced a more streamlined application process. It involves:
- an extended application window of 8 weeks
- assessment against a concise list of the required skills and abilities for the High Court
- a statement of suitability detailing how you demonstrate the skills and abilities, with specific examples from your experience that make you suitable for the role
- a brief factual CV
- online registration of your profile and preferences
Message from the Lord Chancellor, David Gauke MP
“As I said when I was sworn in as Lord Chancellor, the judiciary are at the heart of the Rule of Law. They uphold and exercise that every day in the judgments and decisions they make and in being called upon to make decisions on some of the most difficult moral and technical issues of our time.
High Court judges deal with the most significant cases in England and Wales, involving matters of important legal principle and potentially far-reaching public impact. Their decisions not only affect the parties immediately involved, they can also have a lasting impact on society as a whole.
We are looking for candidates with the exceptional intellectual ability, skills and experience to deal with these complex and highly important cases. The judiciary of England and Wales is respected throughout the world for its independence, integrity and quality. This selection exercise is an excellent opportunity for you to join that judiciary, whether your legal background is as a barrister, solicitor or academic, to take on an intellectually stimulating role that also provides a vital public service. If you believe you can demonstrate the skills necessary to fulfil this important and rewarding position, I urge you to apply.”
Overview of the role
All the posts are based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. As the jurisdiction covers England and Wales, judges can be deployed to sit in courts in Wales that apply primary legislation different from the law in England. Although most sittings will be at the Royal Courts of Justice some of this work is undertaken outside London and can involve stays away from home. In cases where this causes personal difficulties, arrangements can be made with the appropriate Head of Division subject to business needs.
The High Court comprises 3 divisions: Queen’s Bench, Chancery and Family, and the jurisdiction of the High Court is indivisible in law and, irrespective of the division to which a judge is assigned, all judges of the High Court possess equal power, authority and jurisdiction. Accordingly, in response to the business needs of the court, judges may be required to sit in a division other than that to which they are assigned.
For the Queen’s Bench Division, experience in any specialism is welcomed, in particular those with expertise in commercial, technology and construction court, crime, planning and general public law. For the Chancery Division, it is desirable for candidates to have a background in any aspect of chancery law.
All successful candidates will be expected to offer a reasonable length of service, usually 5 years before the statutory retirement age of 70. The Commission will decide whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
More about life on circuit
The nature of the work
The JAC will only recommend candidates of exceptional ability for appointment. In addition, candidates must be able to demonstrate that they are able to work or develop expertise in all aspects of the work of the relevant division. This ability must extend beyond legal skill and candidates should be able to demonstrate actual or potential management and leadership qualities.
High Court judges may be appointed to leadership roles. In the Queen’s Bench Division, this includes serving as a presiding judge. The responsibilities of presiding judges include the exercise of broad supervision over the running of the courts on the circuit to which they are assigned, the deployment of High Court and Circuit judges in the circuit, and attending to the well-being of the circuit judiciary.
In the Family Division, one High Court judge is appointed for each circuit as a Family Division Liaison judge whose responsibilities include judicial deployment, supervising the listing of Family Division work on circuit, co-ordinating the work of the Designated Family judges on circuit, and liaising with the local family judges at all levels.
Across all 3 divisions, High Court judges may be appointed to act as the Judge-in-Charge of a particular area of business or become involved in assisting the Lord Chief Justice and Heads of Division in the administration of a modern judiciary.
Section 9 authorisation and appointment
If not already authorised, candidates will require immediate authorisation as a Deputy High Court Judge under section 9(1) or appointment as a Deputy High Court Judge under section 9(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 subject to the appropriate approval, across all 3 divisions. This will enable successful candidates to sit in the High Court jurisdiction ahead of taking up appointment as a salaried High Court Judge.
In exceptional circumstances, where a candidate has demonstrated potential, but has not demonstrated that they are ready for immediate salaried appointment as a High Court judge, the Commission may decide to make a recommendation to the Appropriate Authority for appointment as a s9(4) Deputy High Court judge, for a term presently of 4 years. The JAC will run a separate section 9(4) Deputy High Court judge exercise in early 2019. Candidates interested in this exercise can sign up for an email alert.
Sitting patterns and vacation duty
The sitting patterns for High Court judges are tied to the dates of the legal year, which are on the Judiciary website. Newly appointed High Court judges are expected to undertake vacation duty for a total of 6 weeks out of their allocated annual leave. However, some flexibility is possible and new judges can arrange time off for important events before completing their duty in consultation with their Head of Division.
Candidates without previous judicial experience
Previous judicial experience is not required and applications are invited from practitioners as well as judges. However, it is important to have an understanding of the complexity and demands of High Court work, relative to your current role or practice. Those who regularly handle highly-pressured, high volume, intellectually complex and legally challenging work but who are not judicial office holders, will need to be able to demonstrate the relevant transferable skills or experience.
Salaried part-time working (SPTW)
Salaried part-time work and jobshare are available across all divisions. Final working patterns will need to be discussed and agreed between the successful candidate, relevant Head of Division and HMCTS at the time of appointment.
Salaried part-time working: a practical guide
Further guidance on the role
If you wish to discuss the role, these judges will be available during the application period. They have no input into the selection process, although they may be asked to act as independent assessors by other candidates. Your enquiries would be confidential between you and them.
- Queen’s Bench: Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, clerk: Daniel Mendonca, 020 7073 4846
- Queen’s Bench: Mr Justice Garnham, clerk: Linda O'Regan, 020 7947 6418
- Family: Mrs Justice Knowles, clerk: Alethea McIntosh 020 7947 7409 (from 17-28 September and throughout October)
- Family: Mr Justice Williams, clerk: Rebecca Leharne 020 7947 6224 (from 3-14 September and throughout October)
- Chancery: Mr Justice Birss, clerk: Supriya Saleem 020 7947 7379
- Chancery: Mr Justice Nugee clerk: Gary Clark 020 7947 7200
- Chancery: Lady Justice Rose, clerk: Rebecca Sigrist 020 7947 6794
Further guidance on salary
In addition to the advertised salary, High Court judges in the Judicial Pension Scheme 2015 (JPS) will receive a temporary recruitment and retention allowance (RRA) of 11% of salary. This is a targeted, temporary, taxable and non-pensionable allowance that is subject to National Insurance. The government has given a commitment that the RRA will continue to be paid until the government has responded to the SSRB’s major review of judicial pay.
Outline terms and conditions
Judicial pensions note
New judicial pensions scheme
Judicial pensions scheme 1993
Preparing your application
The JAC expects that any candidate who aspires to this senior level will have taken steps before applying, to orientate themselves and their portfolio of work such that they can clearly demonstrate their suitability to be a High Court judge.
The JAC also recognises that preparing an application is a substantial task and will draw significantly on candidates’ time; it is not one that can be completed overnight. We recommend candidates start preparing their applications well in advance to ensure they put forward the very best evidence available to them. Specifically, we ask candidates to consider carefully which evidence best demonstrates their suitability for this role, including the examples of written work to be submitted as part of their application.
We have provided a table on transferable skills which may assist candidates who do not already sit or practise in the High Court jurisdiction in assessing their readiness to apply. This is not an exhaustive set of examples, but an attempt to help candidates measure whether their experience to date is at an appropriate level for appointment as a High Court judge.
Transferrable skills table
More on the application process for High Court judge: Application page
To be considered for appointment, you must meet the eligibility requirements on:
- statutory eligibility
Statutory eligibility for this exercise requires candidates to satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis.
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 gained experience in law
The meaning of ‘gain experience in 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 or barrister.
You will be considered eligible as a solicitor when your name was first entered on the Roll kept under section 6 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
You will be considered eligible as a barrister:
- when you completed pupillage in connection with becoming a barrister or
- if you were not required to undertake pupillage in connection with becoming a barrister, when you were called to the Bar of England and Wales
If you were not required to undertake pupillage, you will need to provide details of why you were not. This will most likely be because you were called to the Bar prior to 1 January 2002. If you were called to the Bar after this date, you will only be eligible if you have completed or have been exempted from pupillage by the Bar Standards Board. If you have been exempted from pupillage, you will be required to provide evidence of this by the time applications close, otherwise you will not be eligible to proceed.
At the time of application, candidates must be:
- a UK citizen
- a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland
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 judicial officer must allow for a reasonable length of service before retirement. Usually for these posts it is 5 years.
The Commission will make the decision as to whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Open for applications: 13:00 on 18 October 2018
Close for applications: 13:00 on 13 December 2018
Request for independent assessments: on receipt of candidate application but by no later than 20 December 2018
Eligibility checks being conducted: December 2018 and January 2019
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 18 January 2019
Shortlisting: Mid-February 2019. Notification to candidates: end of February 2019
Statutory consultation comments sought: mid-February to mid-March 2019
Selection days: Between 29 March and 8 May 2019
Character checks being conducted: May and June 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: end of July 2019
The Commission encourages diversity and welcomes applications from groups currently under-represented in the judiciary. The principles of fair and open competition will apply and recommendations for appointment will be made solely on merit.
The first stage is a paper sift. A sift panel, consisting of the JAC panel chair, one High Court judge (both of whom are JAC Commissioners), one Court of Appeal judge and a JAC lay member, will consider the information provided in your application together with the 2 independent assessments. The sift will take place between 4 and 15 February 2019. Individual feedback will be provided after shortlisting to candidates who are not invited to a selection day.
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day. This involves an interview, and situational questioning to assess skills and abilities that may not be tested by an interview alone.
Ahead of the selection day, you may be provided with preparation material. On the day itself, you will be given one or more scenarios based on real-life, challenging, job-related situations. You will have further time to prepare your response before you meet the panel.
The interview will consist of the panel seeking evidence from you against the skills and abilities for the post. The overall assessment made by the panel is provided to the Commissioners when they make their selection decisions.
The selection days will be between 29 March and 8 May 2019 (see full breakdown below). You must be available to attend on one of these dates and should state your availability in the covering letter to your application. Please note that not all of the dates outlined below may be required depending on the number of candidates invited to selection day; you should therefore ensure that you are able to attend dates that fall in both April and May.
- 29 March 2019
- 1 to 16 April 2019
- 1 to 2 May 2019
- 7 to 8 May 2019
More on the application process for High Court judge: Application page
All candidates must provide the contact details of 2 assessors in their covering letter of application.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the skills and abilities relevant to the role.
Independent assessors are approached before shortlisting and the evidence they provide will inform selection decisions. The JAC will contact independent assessors on receipt of your application and by no later than 20 December 2018 to ensure that all assessors have a minimum of 4 weeks in which to provide an assessment.
Please note the important information in relation to avoiding the nomination of independent assessors who may have conflicts of interest.
Conflict of interest
The JAC Commissioners are listed on the JAC website; please do not nominate a Commissioner as an independent assessor. You should also state in the application form if you are in any way related to or known by any of the Commissioners and give details.
You are asked not to nominate an independent assessor whom you know is applying for the same exercise. Such an assessor will be conflicted and the JAC will ask you to find an alternative.
In addition, please do not nominate:
- Statutory consultees: Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, President of the Family Division, Chancellor of the High Court
- Judicial panel members: Lord Justice Green (Queen’s Bench Division), Lord Justice Baker (Family Division), Lady Justice Asplin (Chancery Division) and Mrs Justice Whipple (Queen’s Bench Division and JAC Commissioner).
Independent assessments: guidance for candidates
The JAC is required to carry out character checks on all candidates whom it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
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.
The character section of your JAC profile can be updated at any time; it is your continuing responsibility to keep this up to date with any matter that may arise up to the point of appointment.
Read the good character guidance before applying.
Statutory consultation is carried out in accordance with the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013. Information provided by the Statutory Consultees will be used to inform selection decisions. For this exercise, the JAC will consult the:
- Lord Chief Justice
- President of the Queen's Bench Division
- President of the Family Division
- Chancellor of the High Court
- Master of the Rolls
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 female is 50.4%, while BAME people comprise 11.3%. The proportion of High Court judges that are women is 24% and of those who declared their ethnicity 3% were from a BAME background.
If the JAC Commission, sitting as the Selection and Character Committee 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. The Committee will invite those candidates to a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision.
Equal merit provision
Report to the Appropriate Authority
The Commission reports its final selections to the Appropriate Authority, the Lord Chancellor, who can accept or reject each recommendation, or ask the Commission to reconsider it. The Appropriate Authority may not select an alternative candidate.
Outcome of the exercise
All candidates will be informed of the outcome after the Lord Chancellor has responded to the Commission’s recommendations. We hope to notify you of the outcome of your application by mid-August 2019.
If you are unsuccessful following the selection day, you can request written feedback. You should make this request within 6 weeks of the date of the email informing you that you have not been successful.
Training requirements will be determined on appointment depending on previous experience.
Successful candidates appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division are likely to need to attend the Serious Crime seminar on 11 to 13 September 2019.
Successful candidates appointed to the Family Division may need to attend the Public Family Law seminar on 22 and 23 October 2019.
Any successful candidate without sitting experience is likely to need to attend the Faculty Induction seminar on 23and 24 September 2019.
The Judicial College can accommodate those successful candidates who do not have a background in crime, on courses such as sentencing for example.
Jurisdictional training and sittings-in will be discussed and agreed individually with successful candidates on appointment. All successful candidates will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus after appointment.
The JAC provides reasonable adjustments to ensure that candidates with a disability are not placed at a substantial disadvantage. We will also consider making reasonable adjustments for those suffering from short-term injury or temporary illness.
Reasonable adjustments policy
If you have questions about this role or your application, contact:
- Jenny Ballance on 020 3334 6376 (if unavailable please either email the address below or call the general enquiries line on 020 3334 0123 and ask to speak to a member of the Senior Appointments team)
- email the JAC at email@example.com
Go to Application page