The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications to fill 2 vacancies for the post of Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge. One vacnacy is based in Preston, and one vacancy is based in Manchester.
Launch date: 13:00 on Wednesday 6 November 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on Wednesday 20 November 2019
Number of vacancies: 2
Location: Preston and Manchester
Salary: £151,497 Salary Group 5
The JAC has reviewed the selection exercise process for Leadership posts. Candidates will be assessed at every stage of the selection process against the new Leadership Skills and Abilities. These are based on the Judicial Skills and Abilities Framework used by the judiciary and the Judicial College.
The selection exercise process for Leadership exercises involves candidates:
- being assessed against a concise list of the required skills and abilities for Leadership posts,
- providing a statement of suitability detailing how you demonstrate the skills and abilities, and
- providing a brief factual CV.
Further detail is included in the Submitting your application section below.
Overview of the role
Every Crown Court has a Resident Judge, responsible for leading the judiciary at the court and for ensuring the efficient and effective discharge of judicial business. Resident Judges are responsible for ensuring effective case management within the court centre as well as managing their own cases and caseload.
Through the Presiding Judges and Senior Presiding Judge, Resident Judges assist the Lord Chief Justice in discharging his overall responsibility for representing the views of the judiciary; for maintaining appropriate arrangements for the welfare, training and guidance of the judiciary; and for maintaining arrangements for the deployment of the judiciary and the allocation of work within the courts.
It is required that the successful candidates must already be authorised or have the experience to be authorised to hear Class 1 cases immediately on appointment. The only cases requiring specialist tickets at present are murder, attempted murder, and serious sexual cases. It is also expected that, unless already authorised, the successful candidate has the necessary experience and ability to be granted such tickets.
Terms and Conditions
MoJ JUPRA Scheme Guide 1993
MoJ NJPS Scheme Guide 2015
Location and jurisdiction
The location of the posts and dates by which appointments are required are as follows:
- Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge (Preston): Required July 2020
- Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge (Manchester Crown Square): 1 immediate post
Your posting preferences
In your application you will be asked to indicate which post/s you wish to apply for. If you wish to apply for more than one post you must rank them in order of preference. Please note that selections are made solely on merit. Advice on selecting locations and jurisdictions is available. A Circuit Judge must live within reasonable travelling distance of the courts at which he or she will sit. No application for a transfer may be made until a judge has served five years in the circuit to which they are appointed.
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed. Read Peter Lodder'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 16(3) of the Courts Act 1971, as amended by section 71 and Schedule 10 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, and by section 50 and Schedule 10 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE Act), no person shall be qualified to be appointed a Circuit Judge unless:
(a) they satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition* on a 7 year basis;
(b) they are a Recorder; or
(c) they have held, as a full-time appointment for at least 3 years, one of the offices listed in Part 1A of Schedule 2 to the Courts Act 1971
* The 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 been gaining legal experience
The meaning of gaining legal experience is set out in section 52(2) to (5) of the TCE Act and relates to a period engaged in law related activities. "Relevant legal qualification" means a solicitor or a barrister.
Existing Senior Circuit Judges and Circuit Judges are also welcome to apply.
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. It should involve highly complex matters, requiring its members to objectively determine the facts, draw conclusions and reach a reasoned decision. Such decisions could result in the imposition of a penalty, and that 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 has demonstrated the necessary skills in another significant way should an exception be made.
Information for candidates concerning interpretation of the additional selection criteria
If you are not a judge in either a salaried or fee-paid capacity with at least 30 sitting days experience, you should carefully consider whether you have experience in a role which is deemed sufficiently akin to that of a judge.
As the criteria explains, such roles are expected to be quasi-judicial in nature with powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law requiring its members objectively to determine the facts and draw conclusions to reach a reasoned decision. If a legal qualification is not a requisite for the appointment you hold it is less likely that the JAC will consider the criteria to be met. The same is true if you operate in a court or similar setting but as an advisor or member of a panel rather than a panel chair/decision maker.
Under such circumstances, you should consider whether you have demonstrated the skills of a judge in some other significant way.
It will be for the JAC to determine whether a candidate without judicial experience has sufficient directly relevant experience in an equivalent body or whether the candidate’s case is so exceptional it warrants exception.
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.
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 Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge should allow for a reasonable length of service, usually of 3 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.
You should note that the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 applies to this office. For further details please refer to the outline terms and conditions.
Open for applications: 13:00 on 6 November 2019
Close for applications: 13:00 on 20 November 2019
Request for independent assessments: 21 November 2019
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 5 December 2019
Outcome of shortlisting issued: mid-February 2020
Selection days: 2 or 3 March 2020
Outcome of selection process expected by: end of April 2020
Submitting your application
Applications will open at 13:00 on 6 November 2019 via the exercise application page. Read the Skills and Abilities for the role and the Job Description before making your application.
Your application will comprise 3 elements:
1) A brief factual CV in a format of your choice but of no more than 2 sides of A4 (Arial, size 11).
2) Your JAC website profile, which includes a brief outline of your legal experience and career history.
3) A self-assessment comprising a statement of suitability against the skills and abilities.
Candidates should use the brief factual CV as an opportunity to draw the panel’s attention to the standout moments in their career; specifically pulling out the things that have provided you with the experience and skills necessary to apply for the post of Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge. Details could include:
- key achievements in particular posts
- any areas of the law they have specialised in particular posts
- notable cases the candidate has been involved in, either as a Judge or as a practitioner
- wider portfolio work, or other activities outside of their main job, particularly where these are relevant to the role
In contrast, the legal experience and career history section of your JAC online profile provides the panel with a brief factual and chronological timeline of your career to date but does not offer the same opportunity as the CV to unpack specific cases or specific roles that provide evidence of your ability to transfer your skills to the post.
Details in the CV and JAC online profile do not need to provide direct evidence against the Skills and Abilities.
Your statement of suitability will provide you with the opportunity to evidence how you demonstrate the 3 elements of the skills and abilities criteria. There is a 400 word limit for each of the 3 criteria sections. When composing your statement of suitability you should explain how and why you consider your expertise, personal qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the post. This is an important part of your application because the panel assesses the information in your statement of suitability against the skills and abilities to determine whether you meet the requirements of the post. You must provide the panel with enough information to make a decision.
- read the skills and abilities to understand what you need to demonstrate
- consider how your own experience relates to or is transferable to the skills and abilities
- reflect on roles, tasks and situations in which you demonstrated those skills and abilities
- select specific examples that best demonstrate the skills and abilities as they are set out
Your legal experience, career history and self-assessment are submitted via the JAC website as part of your online application. To submit your CV you must send it via email to SCJRJ176@judicialappointments.gov.uk before 13:00 20 November 2019. Please ensure the subject header includes your full name. The JAC will confirm receipt of your CV.
Your application for the post will not be considered submitted unless we have confirmed receipt of all 3 elements of your application.
At the point of application, you will be required to submit contact details for your independent assessors. 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 skills and abilities relevant to the role.
Independent assessments will be requested on 21 November 2019 and must be returned by 5 December 2019. Late independent assessments may not be considered. You are therefore strongly advised to notify your assessors in advance of submitting your application that you intend to apply, and inform them of the period during which assessments will be sought.
You must ensure the correct details (title and email addresses) are provided because all correspondence with your independent assessors will be by email. Errors will cause delays in your assessor being contacted.
Please ensure you only nominate 2 assessors in line with the categories below:
- if you are an existing salaried judge you will need to nominate 2 judicial assessors
- if you are an existing fee-paid judge you will need to nominate one judicial assessor and one professional assessor
- if you do not currently hold judicial office, you will need to nominate 2 professional assessors
Judicial independent assessors
These are from relevant judges who can provide evidence based examples of your performance as a judicial office holder against the competencies for this post. One of your judicial independent assessors must be your leadership judge, appraiser, or equivalent.
Professional independent assessors
These are from people who can provide evidence based examples of your performance in your profession against the competencies for this post. One of your professional independent assessors should ideally be your line manager, head of chambers, or equivalent. You may also nominate a judge as a professional assessor, provided they are able to provide an assessment of your professional role against the skills and abilities for this post.
Please do not nominate a JAC Commissioner as an independent assessor. In addition you should not nominate the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Lady Justice Sharp, Mrs Justice Thirwall or the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Justice Burnett) as they are the Statutory Consultee, Judicial Panel Member and the Appropriate Authority respectively.
If after reading the guidance above you are unsure of who you should nominate as an independent assessor, please speak to a member of staff using the contact details below.
Candidates will be shortlisted for invitation to selection day by way of a paper sift. A sift panel, consisting of a JAC Chair, independent member and a judicial member, will consider the information contained in your application and from the independent assessments received.
Outcome of shortlisting
The outcome of shortlisting will be emailed to candidates mid-February 2020. Candidates who are not shortlisted will be able to request written feedback on their application.
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, Lady Justice Sharp. The information provided by the Statutory Consultee will be used by the panel in preparation for selection day, and by the Commission to inform selection decisions.
More information on statutory consultation is available
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day. The selection days are scheduled for 2 or 3 March 2020 and will take place in London. Please make sure you are available on either date. Alternative dates cannot be accommodated.
The selection day for this exercise will comprise a pre-notified Strategic Leadership Question (formerly called a Presentation), Situational Questioning and an interview where the selection panel will be seeking evidence from you against the skills and abilities for the post. Further details on what will be required of a candidate on selection day will be sent with the invitation to attend.
More information about selection day is available
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 is available
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 required to complete a digital form which will be included as part of your application.
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 found here.
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 2019), 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 2019, 31% of Circuit Judges identify as women, and 4% of Circuit Judges identify as being from a BAME background.
If the JAC 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. Therefore the JAC will invite those candidates to attend a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision. The second interviews, if required, will provisionally be held early April 2020.
The Commission 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 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.
If you are offered a post you will normally be expected to take up the post within 6 months.
The successful candidates after appointment will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus.
Candidates not already Class 1 authorised will be required to attend the Homicide Seminar.
For this post the successful candidates will also have access to the leadership and management development programme run by the Judicial College, advertised in the courts judiciary prospectus.
This will be required unless you are an existing salaried judicial office holder at group 6.1 and above.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, email: SCJRJ176@judicialappointments.gov.uk
Jickson Zosi: Selection Exercise Team 020 3334 6139
Gemma Montgomery: Selection Exercise Manager, 07562 433 985
Richard Collumbell: Senior Selection Exercise Manager, 020 3334 5587