The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) now invites applications for Queen’s Bench Master and Admiralty Registrar.
Location: Royal Courts of Justice, London
Launch date: 13:00 on 13 March 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on 27 March 2019
Number of vacancies: 4 across England (2 immediate and 2 future vacancies)
Salary: £110,335 annually (salary group 7).
London group 7 posts attract a London salary lead of £2,000 a year and a London allowance of £2,000 a year. Both salary lead and London allowance are taxable and reckonable for pension purposes.
There are 2 immediate vacancies for this post, of these, 1 will be employed for the Queen's Bench Master role and 1 will be deployed for the role of Admiralty Registrar.
The jurisdiction of a Queen’s Bench Master is the jurisdiction of the High Court Judge. Masters exercise their jurisdiction in relation to applications for interim injunctions and Part 7 trials according to agreed guidelines. Under section 5 of the County Courts Act 1984, (as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 Schedule 9, Part 1), and CPR PD2B, Masters are also District Judges of the County Court.
All litigation in the Queen’s Bench Division Central Office is assigned to Queen’s Bench Masters who have a high level of expertise in the conduct of civil litigation and specialise in the heavier cases concerning contract and tort, especially personal injury claims including industrial disease claims, professional negligence actions including clinical negligence, defamation and human rights, and complex contractual disputes.
Those authorised to act as a Queen’s Bench Master will be expected to undertake interlocutory work comprising of case management in a proactive manner of substantial and complex civil actions both pre- and post-trial including Group Actions and Representative Actions assigned to them by the Senior Master.
They will also decide complex issues of jurisdiction, forum, service, limitation, summary disposal, evidence and enforcement and foreign process for the major part of the Courts of England and Wales as delegated by the Senior Master including the application of The Hague Convention and the European Regulations governing the service of process, taking of evidence and recognition and enforcement of judgements.
The Admiralty Registrar must have a good working knowledge of the rules in and relating to Part 61, Practice Direction 61 and the Admiralty and Commercial Court Guide.The Admiralty Registrar reports to the Admiralty Judge. The Admiralty Registrar typically sits 2 days a week dealing with Admiralty matters, but this may be more, such as where a trial or reference is listed. In that event the Queen’s Bench Masters’ Listing Section and the Admiralty Court Listing Clerk coordinate the Queen’s Bench and Admiralty Listing in the Admiralty Registrar’s diary.The Admiralty Registrar has a 50% allocation of general Queen’s Bench claims.
Terms and Conditions
Judicial Pensions: What you need to know
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 1993
Judicial Pension Scheme Guide 2015
Location and jurisdiction
A Master must live within reasonable travelling distance of the Royal Courts of Justice, London.
Salaried part-time working
Some salaried posts may be open to flexible or part-time working. The JAC encourages applications from anyone who may be interested in pursuing this option where a post is advertised as being open to salaried part-time working. Final working patterns will need to be discussed and agreed between the successful candidate(s), relevant senior judiciary and the business area at the time of offer of appointment.
Salaried part time working (SPTW) may be available for some posts subject to it having no material adverse impact on the business needs of the courts or the services to users. The availability of salaried part time working will be agreed locally by the senior judiciary and HMCTS subject to business need at the time of appointment.
Any posts that are open to SPTW/job share would need to be discussed with the Senior Master and HMCTS and agreed in accordance with the business area on appointment. The court estate in most cases does not allow job sharing judges to work on the same day and chambers/courtrooms will therefore need to be shared.
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed: https://www.judicialappointments.gov.uk/case-study/barbara-fontaine
In order to be considered for appointment to this post, you must meet the eligibility requirements on statutory eligibility, citizenship and age. We will not be assessing eligibility until after shortlisting in April 2019. It is therefore your responsibility, and in your own interests, to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application.
Under section 89(1) and Part II of Schedule 2 to the Senior Courts Act 1981, as amended, the statutory requirement for appointment as a Master of the Queen’s Bench Division is to satisfy 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 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.
You should note that the House of Commons Disqualifications Acts 1975 applies to this office. For further details, please refer to the outline terms and conditions.
Additional Selection Criteria
Candidates are expected to have previous judicial experience, sitting as a judge in a salaried or fee-paid capacity or a similar role such as the chair of an equivalent body for which a legal qualification is required.
An equivalent body is one of a quasi-judicial nature for which the powers and procedures should resemble those of a court of law and involve highly complex matters, requiring its members objectively to determine the facts and draw conclusions to reach a reasoned decision. Such decisions could result in the imposition of a penalty, and they are likely to affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties. Examples could include, but are not restricted:
- Disciplinary tribunals and conduct hearings for professional standards bodies
- Parole Board
- Chair of a statutory inquiry
The length of judicial experience required is a minimum of 30 completed sitting days since appointment, not including training or sick days.
Only in exceptional cases and if the candidate in question has demonstrated the necessary skills in some other significant way should an exception be made.
Experience in PI and clinical negligence, is desirable although not essential. Candidates applying for the role of Admiralty Registrar will be asked additional questions at selection day in order to demonstrate their knowledge of Admiralty Law.
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 authorised to act as a Queen’s Bench Master should allow for a reasonable length of service. For this position it is 5 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 13 March 2019
Close for applications: 13:00 on 27 March 2019
Shortlisting: end of April 2019, notification to candidates: end of May 2019
Eligibility checks being conducted: early May 2019
Issue invitations to selection day: late May 2019
Character checks being conducted: late June 2019
Selection days: 10 to 12 June 2019
Statutory consultation comments sought: May 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: late August 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 Queen’s Bench Master who is performing the role effectively.
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
Please 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.
This exercise will be shortlisted by way of a paper sift which will take place at the end of April 2019. A sift panel, consisting of a JAC panel chair the Senior Master and a JAC independent panel member will consider the evidence provided by the JAC. Individual feedback will be provided to candidates who are not invited to selection day.
As required by the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013, the JAC is required to consult persons (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 Lady Justice Sharp. The information provided by the statutory consultees will be used to inform selection decisions.
Information on statutory consultation
If you are shortlisted you will be invited to attend a selection day which is scheduled to take place between:
Alternative dates cannot be accommodated. Candidates will be asked to provide their availability at the application stage.
The selection day will comprise of situational questions and a competency based interview. Situational questioning involves asking you what you would do in a specific situation, based on challenging, real life scenarios. The panel will use the evidence you provide at selection day and within your application, as well as statutory consultation and independent assessments to make an overall assessment which is provided to the Commissioners when they make their selection decisions.
Candidates applying for the Admiralty Registrar role will be asked additional questions at selection day in order to demonstrate their knowledge of Admiralty Law.
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on 13 March 2019 and close at 13:00 on 27 March 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 in 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’. 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.
Candidates applying for the role of Admiralty Registrar must complete the specific text box detailing how they meet the requirements of the role. This is in addition to the competency information.
Information about selection day, including interviews and role plays
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 are 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 signed consent.
All candidates shortlisted for selection day will be requested to complete a 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.
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.
According to the most recent census data, 50.4% of the usual residents of the United Kingdom aged 25 to 74 are women and 11.3% identify as being from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (‘BAME’) background. As of 2018, 23% of Queen’s Bench Masters identify as women, and, as of 2018, 5% of Queen’s Bench Masters identify as being 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 Lord Chief Justice.
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 mid August 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.
Salaried Masters are required to undertake sitting in with other QB Masters and with judges in other parts of the Royal Courts of Justice for their first week of office. A half day in house seminar on certain areas of the Queen’s Bench Masters’ work will be provided.
After appointment successful candidates will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus, and will be required to attend Judicial College seminars.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, please contact the selection exercise team:
Email enquiries: QBM124@judicialappointments.gov.uk
Kira Jainudeen: Selection Exercise Manager, 020 3545 8550
Lisa Grant: Senior Selection Exercise Manager