The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has been asked to identify one candidate to recommend for the post of Circuit Judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal is based in London. The judge will be assigned to the Employment Appeal Tribunal based at the Rolls Building, London.
Launch date: 13:00 on Tuesday 3 December 2019
Closing date: 13:00 on Tuesday 17 December 2019
Number of vacancies: 1
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.
The Lord Chief Justice will immediately upon appointment, assign the Judge to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) under Sch. 24 2(a) of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 to sit full time for a minimum of five years, to be reviewed thereafter with the possibility of renewal.
Once the five years is completed, should the judge no longer sit in EAT, they will revert to a Circuit Judge on circuit. They will, at that point, move to salary group 6.1.
The jurisdiction covers England, Wales and Scotland.
Overview of the role
The Employment Appeal Tribunal is a superior court of record (s.20(3) Employment Tribunals Act 1996). As such, it exercises a largely appellate jurisdiction (a list of the 23 different statutes or statutory instruments under which an appeal may arise in both England and Wales, and Scotland are set out at s.21(1) ETA 96) though there is also an original jurisdiction under other Acts, as set out in s. 21(4) ETA 96.
As the EAT considers appeals from the decisions of specialist employment judges, the Lord Chancellor expects that candidates should have a significant experience and knowledge of appellate work, employment law and tribunal procedure. This should include a wide breadth of experience across the field of domestically and European derived employment rights. Candidates should have an up-to-date knowledge of developments in case law, statute and procedure as it affects employment law.
The workload involves a substantial amount of reading and hearings. Each judge can expect to sit in court for up to 4 days a week depending on workload, and consider 10 to 12 'sifts' (which correspond to applications for permission to appeal) on paper on at least one of those days; sometimes this may be altered in accordance with the Tribunal’s caseload such that sitting is for 2 days a week and sifting for 2. One reading day a week is scheduled. Hearings in court are divided between oral applications for those who have been refused permission to appeal on the sift, but wish to pursue an appeal (r.3(10) hearings), preliminary hearings in potential appeals, and final (or “full”) hearings. The judge will be expected usually to give judgment extempore when considering a r. 3(10) application (of which in a court day there may be 4), though in exceptional cases may reserve judgment. Judgment may be given extempore or reserved (at the option of the judge) following a full appeal hearing. There will not often be the opportunity during a sitting week for additional time to be made available to complete a reserved judgment: a judge should anticipate that such a judgment will be completed in the judge’s own time, together with such time as is left over from the heavy schedule described above.
If you are offered the post you will normally be expected to take up the post within 6 months.
Job Description, Senior Circuit Judge EAT
Terms and Conditions SCJ EAT
Terms and Conditions CJ
Before you apply you may wish to read information on the Judicial Pension Scheme:
Note on Senior Circuit Judge pensions
Judicial Pension Scheme 1993
New Judicial Pension Scheme
Location and jurisdiction
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 5 years in the circuit to which they were appointed.
The judge will be assigned to the Employment Appeal Tribunal based at the Rolls Building, London.
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed. Read Jennifer Eady QC case study.
To be considered for appointment, you must meet the eligibility requirements. 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, 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 IA of Schedule 2.
The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (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 “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.
Existing Senior Circuit Judges and Circuit Judges are also welcome to apply.
Additional selection criteria
Candidates must demonstrate significant experience and knowledge of appellate work, employment law and Tribunal procedure. This should include a wide breadth of experience across the field of domestically and European derived employment rights. Candidates should have an up-to-date knowledge of developments in case law, statute and procedure as it affects employment law.
Candidates are also 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.
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 of the Employment Appeal Tribunal should allow for a reasonable length of service. For this position it is usually 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 Tuesday 3 December 2019
Close for applications: 13:00 on Tuesday 17 December 2019
Independent assessments requested: 18 December 2019
Deadline for receipt of independent assessments: 15 January 2020
Outcome of shortlisting issued: mid to late February 2020
Selection day: 3 March 2020
Outcome of selection process expected by: early 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 Senior Circuit Judge 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.
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 two we will only approach the first 2 listed.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the competencies relevant to the role. 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 do not currently hold a judicial office, you will need to provide details of two professional assessors.
If you are a fee-paid judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of one judicial assessor and one professional assessor.
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 competencies for this post.
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.
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.
Please do not nominate a JAC Commissioner as an independent assessor. In addition you should not nominate Lady Justice Simler, or Mr Justice Choudhury, as they are the Statutory Consultee and Judicial Panel Member 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.
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 Lady Justice Simler. The information provided by the statutory consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
Information on statutory consultation
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day. The selection day is scheduled for 3 March 2020 and will take place in London. Please make sure you are available as alternative dates cannot be accommodated.
The selection day will comprise situational questioning and a competency-based interview. The 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 will be sent with the formal invitation to attend.
The overall assessment by the panel is 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.
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 Upper Tribunal Judge that are women is 44% and of those who declared their ethnicity 17% 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 late April 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 early 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.
Training will be provided as required dependant on the successful candidate. In addition, they will have access to the judicial college prospectus on appointment.
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, please contact a member of the selection exercise team:
If you have any questions about this role or your application, email: SCJEAT184@judicialappointments.gov.uk
Jickson Zosi: Selection Exercise Team 020 3334 6139
Abu Zakaria: Selection Exercise Manager, 07535 034 105
Richard Collumbell: Senior Selection Exercise Manager, 020 3334 5587