The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) invites applications for s9(4) Deputy High Court Judge with up to 20 vacancies across all 3 divisions (Family, Chancery and Queen’s Bench).
Launch date: 13:00 on 15 January 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on 5 February 2019
Number of vacancies: up to 20 across all divisions
Fee: £881.90 per day if sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
MoJ JUPRA Scheme Guide 1993
MoJ NJPS Scheme Guide 2015
Terms and Conditions
Message from the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon
I am pleased to endorse this selection exercise.
I wish to encourage applications from a broad range of candidates who possess exceptional intellectual ability, expertise and experience to deal with the variety of work of the High Court bench. Deputy High Court Judges hear matters of important legal principle and deal with issues at the forefront of the legal system in England and Wales. I expect candidates for appointment in this competition to have the requisite aptitude and capability to take on the range of work across their respective Division. The work of the High Court is fundamentally important, not just to the parties affected immediately and directly, but to wider society as a whole. It is hoped that those seeking appointment in this competition will plan to apply for salaried High Court positions within the next four years (before the fixed-term appointment expires).
If you feel that you could fulfil this key role, I encourage you to apply.
Overview of the role
Those appointed to sit as Deputy High Court Judges will be expected to undertake work which would otherwise be undertaken by salaried High Court Judges.
The work will include dealing with cases, requiring meticulous preparation. Successful candidates will occasionally be asked to reach decisions on paper alone, and may be given a specific trial or hearing that could last one or 2 weeks.
Depending on the jurisdiction, successful candidates may be given the opportunity to sit across all divisions of the High Court – subject to the approval of the senior judiciary – and hear a range of work including:
- cases arising out of business and property law disputes, both national and international
- public and private law cases involving children and families, including finding of fact hearings dealing with controversial and difficult medical issues
- financial disputes, including substantial asset divorce cases, cases in relation to children where the parents are unmarried, and financial cases and jurisdictional disputes following foreign divorce decrees
- child abduction and international family law, including relocation cases and the inter-relation of the law of England and Wales with European law
- cases in contract, tort and other areas and possibly specialist topics such as planning, commercial, defamation and construction
- in the administrative court, judicial review claims and statutory challenges to the actions of public authorities, such as government ministers, local authorities and other public sector bodies
Although some specialists are required, for example in chancery, crime, commercial, public law, defamation and family work, previous courts or advocacy experience of the work is not required for appointment.
Deployment: Location and jurisdiction
Following appointment, candidates will be assigned by the senior judiciary to sit across the Chancery Division, Family Division and Queen’s Bench Division.
The jurisdiction covers England and Wales, and judges can be deployed to sit in courts in Wales which has enacted primary legislation different from the law applicable in England. Although most sittings will be at the Royal Courts of Justice, Deputy High Court Judges should be prepared to sit on circuit, if invited. The timing and frequency of any circuit sittings will be a matter of discussion between the successful candidate(s), the senior judiciary and HMCTS and will take consideration of any personal commitments.
Successful candidates may be given the opportunity to sit across all divisions of the High Court, subject to approval of the senior judiciary. Those who are not otherwise Recorders may be deployed, if they wish, to sit in Crime in the Crown Court at Recorder-level, subject to training.
You will be asked, on your application, to indicate and rank your divisional preferences. However, this information will play no part in selection decisions and will be used for deployment purposes only.
Final deployment decisions will be a matter for the Heads of Division. It may not always be possible to deploy successful candidates in line with their preferences, depending on business need. In circumstances where the preferences of candidates do not match vacancy requirements, the Heads of Division will take account of the order of merit to give those who are most meritorious priority of assignment to their preferred division.
Candidates without previous judicial experience
For candidates of exceptional ability, this is an excellent opportunity to gain experience working in the High Court, undertaking work that would otherwise be reserved for salaried High Court Judges.
While this exercise is open to existing judges, no previous judicial experience is required. All solicitors and barristers with at least 7 years post qualification experience are eligible to apply if, during that time, they have been engaged in law related activities, as defined under section 52 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.
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 recommendation for appointment will be made solely on merit.
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed.
Peter Marquand and Akhlaq Choudhury were both appointed Deputy High Court Judges in 2016. Peter Marquand talks about what it means to be a Deputy High Court Judge and Akhlaq Choudhury, who is now a High Court Judge, explains his reasons for wanting to be a judge.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post.
Section 9(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 a person qualified for appointment as a puisne judge of the High Court to be a deputy judge of the High Court.
Under section 10(3)(c) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, as amended by para 13 of Schedule 10 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, no person shall be qualified for appointment as a puisne judge of the High Court unless-
- he satisfies the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis; or
- he is a Circuit Judge who has held that office for at least 2 years.
The meaning of “gain experience in the law” is set out in section 52(2) to (5) of the TCE Act and relates to a period engaged in law related activities. “Relevant qualification” means a barrister or a solicitor.
In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment, a solicitor (or a salaried judicial office holder who was formerly a solicitor) must appear on the Roll.
There is no upper or lower age limit for candidates apart from the statutory retirement age of 70. Appointment will be on a 4-year fixed-term basis. You will be free to apply for a further competition at the end of the period. Successful candidates are encouraged to apply for the High Court selection exercise which has a reasonable length of service of 5 years and a requirement of sufficient relevant previous judicial experience.
In order to be eligible for the High Court candidates are expected to have a reasonable length of service of at least 8 years at the time of application for this Deputy High Court Judge exercise. This will enable the required sittings to be undertaken prior to application to the High Court and allow for the 5 years reasonable length of service required of a High Court Judge. The Commission will decide whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
At the time of application, candidates must be either a:
- UK citizen
- citizen of another Commonwealth country
- citizen of the Republic of Ireland
Other European Union citizens are not eligible to apply.
Open for applications: 15 January 2019 at 13:00
Close for applications: 5 February 2019 at 13:00
Request for independent assessments: 7 February 2019
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 28 February 2019
Eligibility checks conducted: March 2019
Outcome of shortlisting issued: mid-April 2019
Telephone assessments: 1 to 7 May 2019
Outcome of telephone assessments issued: End of May 2019
Statutory consultation comments sought: June 2019
Selection days: 1 to 5 July 2019
Character checks being conducted: July and August 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: mid-October 2019
The JAC has reviewed the selection process for the s9(4) appointments exercise and revised the following aspects of the application process. The overall selection process remains as it has been in previous competitions, i.e. paper sift, telephone assessment and a selection day which comprises a role play and interview.
- an extended application window of 3 weeks
- assessment against the required Skills and Abilities for appointment to sit in the High Court
- a statement of suitability of up to 1500 words detailing how you demonstrate the Skills and Abilities with specific examples from your experience that make you suitable for the role
Skills and Abilities
Throughout the selection process candidates will be assessed against the Skills and Abilities. There are 3 skills and abilities in total that list the behaviours of a person appointed to act as a judge of the High Court who is performing the role effectively.
Candidates who have been collating evidence under the competency framework in their preparation for this exercise, will note that the competences of exercising judgement, possessing and building knowledge, assimilating and clarifying information, working and communicating with others, managing work efficiently are reflected in the new skills and abilities.
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on 15 January 2019 and close at 13:00 on 5 February 2019.
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 exercise page 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’. 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.
Statement of suitability
The statement of suitability 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 Skills and Abilities required for the post having regard to the job description. The statement of suitability should not be a reiteration of your career history.
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 Skills and Abilities.
When asked, in the online application form, 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. If you provide more than 2 we will only approach the first 2 listed.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the skills and abilities relevant to the role of Deputy High Court 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 2 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 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 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:
- Lady Justice Hallett
- President of the Queen’s Bench Division
- President of the Family Division
- Chancellor of the High Court
- Lord Chief Justice
as they are the Lead Judge, 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.
The first stage of the shortlisting process will be by way of a paper sift which will take place in mid-March 2019. A sift panel, consisting of a JAC panel chair and a High Court Judge will consider the evidence provided in your statement of suitability and independent assessments.
The second stage of the shortlisting process will be by way of a telephone assessment which will take place between 1 and 7 May 2019.
If you are shortlisted for the telephone assessment, we will send an invitation with the time and date of your interview and ask for your preferred contact number. A JAC panel chair and a High Court Judge will call you on this number at the allocated time. You must be available to participate in the telephone assessment during 1 to 7 May 2019 and will be asked to provide details of your availability on your online application.
For further information about telephone assessments please see the telephone assessment guidance on the JAC website. There are two helpful videos available; one from a judicial panel member and another from a candidate on last year's exercise.
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 President of the Queen's Bench Division, the President of the Family Division and the Chancellor of the High Court. The information provided by the Statutory Consultees will be used by the panel in preparation for selection day, and by the Commission to inform selection decisions.
More information on statutory consultation
If you are shortlisted after the telephone assessment stage you will be invited to attend a selection day which will take place between 1 and 5 July 2019.
Alternative dates cannot be accommodated. Candidates will be asked to provide their availability at the application stage.
The selection day will comprise a role play and Skills and Abilities based interview. 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 Commission when it makes its selection decisions.
Information about selection day, including interviews
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 online 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 will be required to complete a digital consent form which will be included in 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.
Conflict of interest
The JAC Commissioners are listed on the JAC website. Do not nominate a Commissioner as an 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.
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 on to 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 mid-October 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.
Jurisdictional training and sittings will be discussed and agreed individually with successful applicants on appointment. Successful candidates will be expected to attend a 2-day residential Craft of Judging seminar soon after appointment.
Those candidates who have no prior judicial sitting experience will be invited to attend an additional 2-day Faculty Induction Seminar.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, contact the JAC: DHCJ112@judicialappointments.gov.uk
Joanne Dixon: Selection Exercise Manager, 020 3334 0199
Jennifer Ballance: Senior Appointments Lead, 020 3334 6376