The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) now invites applications for Deputy Queen's Bench Master.
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Launch date: 13:00 on 31 October 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on 14 November 2019
Number of vacancies: 2 immediate vacancies
Location: The Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London
Fee: £668.04 per day
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 tools section on the JAC website.
Overview of the role
Deputy Queen’s Bench Masters deal with the same cases as Queen’s Bench Masters. All litigation in the Queen’s Bench Division Central Office is assigned to Queen’s Bench Masters for case management. The Queen’s Bench Masters also have a trial jurisdiction. The claims issued in the Queen’s Bench Division are high value complex claims concerning contract and tort, especially personal injury claims including industrial disease claims, professional negligence actions including clinical negligence, media and communication claims, human rights claims, and complex contractual disputes. The Queen’s Bench Division also deals with enforcement of British, EU and foreign judgments and awards.
The work of Queen’s Bench Masters (QB Masters) is challenging, varied and closely analogous to the civil work of High Court Judges, with whom the Masters have a strong working relationship. The work of the QB Masters includes specialist lists, the Asbestos List, which deals with asbestos exposure disease claims, the Clinical Negligence List and the Media and Communications List.
Experience of civil litigation, is desirable although not essential.
- hearing applications, case and cost management hearings, assessments of damages and trials as allocated to them by the QB Masters Listing Section at the direction of the Senior Master This will require speedy absorption of material and analysis of information, especially in the context of substantial and complex civil actions where the material placed before the court may be voluminous
- undertaking case and cost management in a proactive manner of substantial and complex civil actions both pre- and post-trial
- undertaking costs budgeting of claims in conjunction with their case management and carrying out summary assessment of costs. Dealing with costs issues and disputes (save where these are within the remit of the Senior Courts Costs Office)
- deciding complex interlocutory issues of jurisdiction, forum, service, limitation, summary disposal, evidence and enforcement
- undertaking trials usually those lasting up to three days and may comprise trials of preliminary issues on liability or limitation, assessments of damages and short/less complex trials on all issues
- giving sound judgments ex tempore or in written form which state clearly and succinctly the issues and the reasons for their decisions
- working as part of the strongly collegiate team of Masters supporting their colleagues and the duties of the Senior Master
- being familiar with the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions and with specialist areas of QB practice
- Deputy Masters are expected to be IT literate, to case manage by operation of the QB electronic working and filing system, and to make the fullest possible use of digital means of research and communication
The jurisdiction of the Queen’s Bench Masters is the jurisdiction of the High Court Judge, subject to Civil Procedure Rules 2BPD. 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 Civil Procedure Rules PD2B, Masters are also District Judges of the County Court.
Terms and conditions
Judicial Pension Scheme 1993
New Judicial Pension Scheme 2015
Reading about candidates previously selected for a similar role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed. Read Senior Master Barbara Fontaine's case study.
To be considered for appointment you must meet the eligibility requirements for this post. As we will not be assessing eligibility until after the shortlisting stage, it is your responsibility and in your own interest, to ensure that 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 and Deputy 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 Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement 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.
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 Queen's Bench Master 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.
Candidates will need to fulfil one of the following nationality requirements:
- be a citizen of the United Kingdom
- be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland
- be a citizen of a Commonwealth country or
- hold dual nationality, one of which falls in one of the above categories
Open for applications: 31 October 2019 at 13:00
Close for applications: 14 November 2019 at 13:00
Independent assessments requested: 18 November and returned by 02 December 2019
Outcome of shortlisting process: end of January 2020
Provisional selection days: 04 February to 06 February 2020
Outcome of selection days: end April 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 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
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.
Shortlisting is by way of paper sift, taking into account the information contained in your application and independent assessments. Individual feedback will be provided to candidates who are not invited to selection day.
More information about sifts
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 Lord Justice Dingemans. The information provided by the statutory consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
Information on statutory consultation
If shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day which will take place between 04 February and 06 February 2020. We will not be able to offer an alternative interview date outside of this period. Selection days are due to take place in London.
The selection day for this exercise will comprise of situational questioning and a competency based interview during which the selection panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post. Situational questioning involves asking you what you would do in a specific situation, based on challenging, real-life scenarios. Further details of the situational questions will be sent along with the invitation to selection day.
The overall assessment made by the panel takes account of evidence from your application, the selection day, and independent assessments. This evidence will be provided to the Commission when they make their selection decisions.
Information about selection day, including interviews and role plays
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 carry out character checks on all candidates whom it intends to consider for appointment. This requires your signed consent.
All candidates will be requested to complete a consent form which is included in your application form. The checks will only be requested on shortlisted candidates.
You should be aware that the JAC expects all character matters to be declared. Any matter that has not been disclosed by you and is brought to the JAC’s attention through its independent checks will be treated as your non-declaration of a relevant matter. You will have no opportunity to make further representations on any declared issue once the matter is before the Selection and Character Committee.
The JAC considers that it is your responsibility to ensure that any record concerning your character is accurate. Details of the bodies with whom JAC will make independent character enquiries are set out in paragraph 17 of the Good Character Guidance and you may wish to contact your professional body to ensure all matters recorded are known to you.
On 4 August 2016 the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 came into effect. It allows for the full disclosure to the JAC 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.
You must continue to update the character section of your JAC profile. You have a continuing responsibility to disclose any matter that may arise at any time before you are notified of the outcome of your application.
Failure to disclose any relevant matter is likely to have an adverse effect on your application.
Equal merit provision
In line with its published policy, the Commission will apply the equal merit provision to this exercise. Guidance on the approach taken by the JAC to equal merit can be found here.
If the Commission, sitting as the Selection and Character Committee, considers two or more candidates to be of equal merit, a candidate may be selected for the purpose of increasing judicial diversity. The Committee will use the provision based on the data declared by candidates in the diversity part of their online application.
The relevant data used to identify 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 2019).
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 Masters, Registrars and Cost Judges that are women is 30% and of those who declared their ethnicity 0 % declared they were from a BAME background.
If the Committee has applied the equal merit provision, it may be presented with a situation whereby it is unable to choose between two 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 Committee will invite those candidates to a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision. The second interview would be on 26 March 2020.
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 April 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.
Training will be provided as required, dependant on successful candidate. The successful candidate after appointment will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, please contact a member of the selection exercise team:
Email enquiries: DQBM.firstname.lastname@example.org
Selection Exercise Manager: Abdalla Bidu: email@example.com, 07562 433967
Executive Officer: Deborah Stewart: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 3334 6710
Senior Selection Exercise Manager: Linda McCabe, Linda.McCabe@judicialappointments.gov.uk