The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is now inviting applications to fill 2 vacancies for the post of Senior Circuit Judge, Designated Civil Judge. One vacancy is in Birmingham and the other is in Winchester.
Launch date: 13:00 on Thursday 26 September 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on Thursday 10 October 2019
Number of vacancies: 2
Location: Birmingham and Winchester
- Senior Circuit Judge, Designated Civil Judge (Birmingham): 1 immediate post
- Senior Circuit Judge, Designated Civil Judge (Winchester): 1 immediate post
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 Leadership Skills and Abilities which 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
The role of the Designated Civil Judge (DCJ) is to take overall responsibility for the civil work of the county courts and District Registries in the area to which they are appointed. That involves providing leadership to the civil judiciary (including Circuit Judges, District Judges and fee paid judiciary) who sit at the courts in that area and ensuring the efficient discharge of judicial business at those courts.
The DCJ is expected to work closely with the Resident Judge(s) and Designated Family Judge(s) in the area and by discussion and agreement to resolve any questions affecting the administration of justice across the jurisdictions.
Terms and Conditions
MoJ JUPRA Scheme Guide 1993
MoJ NJPS Scheme Guide 2015
Group 5 Pension Note
Location and jurisdiction
The location of the posts and dates by which appointments are required are as follows:
- Senior Circuit Judge, Designated Civil Judge, Birmingham, required immediately
This post is based in Birmingham Justice Centre and is one of the largest hearing centres outside of London. This centre undertakes a substantial volume of work covering four jurisdictions: Civil, Family, Immigration and Asylum and Social Security and Child Support Tribunals.
- Senior Circuit Judge, Designated Civil Judge, Winchester, required immediately
This post is based in Winchester Combined Court Centre. This centre undertakes a substantial volume of work , including bankruptcy, money claims, and work in the Crime and Family jurisdictions.
Your posting preferences
In your application you will be asked to indicate which post 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.
Section 9(1) authorisation
It is required that the successful candidate must already be authorised or be suitable for authorisation to the pool of judges upon appointment to act as a judge of the High Court under section 9(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981. Deployment to the High Court Division(s) will be a matter for the respective Head of Division. Candidates must declare on their applications if they already hold authorisation under s9(1), and if so, where.
You must meet the eligibility requirements for this post. The JAC will assess eligibility after the shortlisting stage. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting your application.
To be appointed a Circuit Judge, 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 (TCE) Act 2007, a candidate must:
(a) satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis
(b) be a Recorder or
(c) 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 (as a barrister or solicitor, in England and Wales)
- for the requisite period and
- while holding that qualification you have gained experience in law
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.
Note that service as a magistrate is not considered demonstrative of gaining experience in the law or as being equivalent to previous judicial experience.
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 to:
- 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.
If you already hold judicial appointment and were first appointed before March 1995, you may have a preserved retirement age of 72. This includes if you were first appointed to a judicial office listed in Schedule 7 to the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. Such candidates should inform the JAC by email: SCJDCJ177@judicialappointments.gov.uk
A Senior Circuit Judge who is a member, or eligible for membership, of the Judicial Pension Scheme 2015 will qualify for a temporary Recruitment and Retention Allowance (RRA) of 15% of salary. Members of the judicial pension scheme established under the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 (the scheme referred to as “JUPRA”) are not eligible for the RRA unless they taper across, under transitional arrangements, to JPS 2015, and then only from the point at which they become members of JPS 2015 (or, should they choose not to join JPS, the point at which they would become eligible to do so). The RRA will cease to be paid to anyone who is no longer eligible on the basis of the above criteria.
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 26 September 2019
Close for applications: 13:00 on 10 October 2019
Independent assessments requested: 11 October 2019
Deadline for receipt of independent assessments: 25 October 2019
Sift and eligibility checks being conducted: mid November 2019
Outcome of shortlisting issued: end of November 2019
Selection days: 16 or 17 December 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: early February 2020
Submitting your application
Applications will open at 13:00 on 26 September 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, Designated Family 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 SCJDCJ177@judicialappointments.gov.uk before 13:00 10 October 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 11 October 2019 and must be returned by 25 October 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 Master of the Rolls, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, the Chancellor of the High Court, Mrs Justice Simler or the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Justice Burnett) as they are the Statutory Consultees, 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 by way of a paper sift. A sift panel, consisting of a JAC Chair and a judicial member - who for this exercise is Lady Justice Simler - will consider the information contained in your application form and the independent assessments received.
Outcome of shortlisting
The outcome of shortlisting will be emailed to candidates by the end of November 2019. Candidates who are not shortlisted will be able to request written feedback on their application.
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend a selection day. The selection days are scheduled for 16 or 17 December 2019 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 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, including situational questioning and interview
The JAC is required by the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013, 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 Master of the Rolls, President of the Queen’s Bench Division and the Chancellor of the High Court. The information provided by the statutory consultees will be used in making a selection decision.
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 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.
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 Circuit Judges that are women is 31% and of those who declared their ethnicity 4% 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 in early February.
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 January 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 candidate after appointment will have access to the Judicial College training prospectus.
For this post the successful candidate will also have access to the leadership and management development programme run by the Judicial College, advertised in the courts judiciary prospectus.
Unless you are an existing salaried judicial office holder at group 6.1 and above, a medical examination is required.
If you have any questions about this role or your application, email SCJDCJ177@judicialappointments.gov.uk or telephone:
Jickson Zosi: Selection Exercise Team Member, 020 3346 1393
Richard Collumbell: Senior Selection Exercise Manager, 020 3334 5587