The JAC now invites applications for Deputy District Judge (Civil).
Launch date: 13:00 on Wednesday 20 March 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on Wednesday 3 April 2019
Number of vacancies: 200 vacancies across England and Wales, increased from 150
Fee: £523.46 a day with the exception of London, where the fee is £542.06 a day
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 may wish to look at the Am I ready? tools on the JAC website.
Applying for Deputy District Judge and Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier and Employment Tribunals
The JAC is running 2 fee-paid exercises that both open and close for applications on the same day:
- Deputy District Judge (200 vacancies)
- Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (120 vacancies) and Fee-paid Judge of the Employment Tribunal (50 vacancies)
Candidates can apply for either role or both roles.
The 5 competencies for each role have been aligned as much as possible so candidates can use the same examples for both roles.
The JAC has combined the first part of the qualifying test for these roles.
If applying for both roles, candidates will:
- complete 2 separate applications and can use the same competency examples and independent assessors for both applications
- sit 1 multiple-choice online qualifying test that has been combined for both roles
- sit a separate scenario test for each role if they successfully pass the first online qualifying test
There are 200 vacancies to sit as a Deputy District Judge hearing civil cases. Roles are across England and Wales. Welsh language, including reading and writing, is essential for up to 3 posts that are expected to be located in Wales.
There are 120 vacancies to sit as a Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal and 50 vacancies to sit in the Employment Tribunal. The roles are across England and Wales. There are up to 6 posts requiring Welsh Language in the First tier Tribunal (IAC) and Employment Tribunal. Welsh speakers are welcome but are not essential for Social Entitlement Chamber.
Information about applying for the Fee-paid Judge of First-tier and Employment Tribunals
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.
- keeping abreast of legal developments
- maintaining personal development by way of attending refresher courses and continuation seminars
Terms and Conditions
Judicial pensions information
1993 Pension Scheme
New Pension Scheme
Deployment: Location and jurisdiction
When applying for the post of Deputy District Judge (Civil), you will be asked to indicate the circuit(s) in which you are willing to work, including your order of preference.
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. Candidates may, therefore, be deployed to any of the circuits across England and Wales. In circumstances where the preferences of candidates do not match vacancy requirements, the Senior Presiding Judge will take account of the order of merit to give those who are most meritorious priority of assignment to their preferred circuit.
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.
Advice on selecting locations and jurisdictions.
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.
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 the ability to read and write in Welsh, is required for 3 posts. These posts require both 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) 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 judge and the JAC Commissioner with responsibility for Wales. The telephone assessment will consist of the judge asking up to two questions which require a response in Welsh; the assessment will take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
Telephone assessments on the Welsh speaking element are likely to take place in the week commencing 30 September 2019.
The JAC does not have any information about the jurisdictions of these posts; this will be a matter for deployment which is overseen by Judicial Office.
Reasonable Length of Service
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 4 years before retirement.
The JAC 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.
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: 13:00 on Wednesday 20 March 2019
Close for applications: 13:00 on Wednesday 3 April 2019
Qualifying test instructions issued by email: Wednesday 17 April 2019
Online qualifying test: 07:00 to 21:00 on Wednesday 24 April 2019
Outcome of online qualifying test issued: late May 2019. The JAC will publish the online qualifying test feedback report during August 2019.
Scenario test instructions issued by email: Tuesday 28 May 2019
Online scenario test: 07:00 to 21:00 on Tuesday 4 June 2019
Outcome of scenario test issued. Request for candidates to complete Part 2 of their application: early July 2019
Deadline for the submission of Part 2 of the application: 19 July 2019
Eligibility checks being conducted: July to August 2019
Request for independent assessments: 1 to 16 August 2019
Formal selection day invitation issued: by 30 August 2019
Selection days: 16 September to 8 November 2019
Character checks being conducted: November and December 2019
Statutory consultation comments sought: November to December 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: mid March 2020
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 who is performing the role effectively.
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on Wednesday 20 March 2019, closing at 13:00 on Wednesday 3 April 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 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.
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.
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.
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. If you provide more than 2 we will only approach the first 2 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 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, 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.
Stage 1: Online qualifying test
All applicants will receive qualifying test instructions and preparation material by email on Wednesday 17 April 2019. If you do not receive this email by 17:00 on Wednesday 17 April 2019 please contact the JAC immediately.
All applicants will be invited to participate in an online qualifying test on Wednesday 24 April 2019 from 07:00 to 21:00.
Stage 2: Online scenario test
If you are successful in the Stage 1 online qualifying test, you will be invited to sit an online scenario test.
You will receive online scenario test instructions by email on Tuesday 28 May 2019. If you do not receive this email by 17:00 on Tuesday 28 May 2019 please contact the JAC immediately.
Applicants will be invited to participate in an online scenario test on Tuesday 4 June 2019 from 07:00 to 21:00.
If you are unable to sit the test on the date specified above due to exceptional circumstances or because it is a religious holiday, please email DDJ116@judicialappointments.gov.uk and we will arrange for you take the test on a later date (which will fall no more than a week after the original date).
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
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 in August 2019. The JAC cannot provide bespoke feedback for individual candidates at the shortlisting stages. Please do not make a request as exceptions are not made.
Stage 3: Selection day
If you are successful in the stage 2 online scenario stage you will be invited to a selection day which will take place between:
- 16 and 20 September 2019
- 7 and 11 October 2019
- 21 and 25 October 2019
We will not be able to offer an alternative selection day outside this period.
The selection days will either take place in London or Birmingham; 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 of 2 role plays 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 30 August 2019. If you have not received an email by midday on 2 September 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 posts in England.
Please note that the Welsh speaking element will be tested outside of your selection day over the telephone. Telephone assessment dates are to likely to take place in the week commencing 30 September 2019.
Selection decisions are made solely on merit. Following deployment decisions you will only be offered 1 post, therefore please consider your preferences carefully.
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 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 candidates with a disability are not placed at a disadvantage. We will also consider making reasonable adjustments for those candidates with a short-term injury or temporary illness. You may request a reasonable adjustment in your application.
Information on the reasonable adjustments policy
The JAC is required to select people who are of good character and you are therefore advised to read the Good Character Guidance to assist you to determine whether there is anything in your past conduct, or present circumstances, that would affect your application for judicial appointment.
As part of its assessment, the JAC carries out independent character checks which require 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.
Anything brought to the JAC’s attention through its independent checks not disclosed by you will be treated as a non-declaration. Failure to disclose any relevant matter is likely to have an adverse effect on your application. It is your responsibility to ensure that any record concerning your character is accurate and you may wish to contact your professional body to ensure all matters recorded are known to you.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 allows for the full disclosure to the JAC of all spent cautions and convictions to assess good character. You must therefore declare and disclose all past convictions and cautions, regardless of whether they are spent or unspent.
You should also consider whether any matter you have declared is likely to have an adverse effect on your application and provide details of any extenuating circumstances for the Selection and Character Committee (SCC) to consider in departing from the usual position as set out with the Good Character Guidance. You will have no opportunity to make further representations on any declared issue once the matter is before the SCC.
It is your continuing responsibility to disclose any matter that may arise throughout the selection process, up to the point of appointment. If you need to provide the JAC with an update to your character profile after submitting your application form email DDJ116@judicialappointments.gov.uk
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 identifies as being from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (BAME) background. The proportion of Deputy District Judges that are women is 38% 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 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 Appropriate Authority.
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.
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 2020.
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 Deputy District Judges will be invited to a week-long residential seminar (Monday to Friday). Dates are to be confirmed.
Judicial office holders with no prior judicial experience will be required to attend a 2-day residential Judicial College Faculty Induction seminar within 12 months of starting to sit.
Newly appointed Deputy District Judges should complete at least 2 and no more than 3 of the requisite sittings in before attending the induction seminar. A further 2 days can be completed after induction (if required). The amount of days required is dependent on experience but must be completed before the Deputy District Judge is signed off to start sitting.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, please contact a member of the selection exercise team:
Phone: 020 3334 4687 / 07540 258 710 / 07562 433 968
Selection Exercise Officer: Filipa Luxton
Selection Exercise Manager: Sarah Campbell
Senior Selection Exercise Manager: Lisa Grant