OUTLINE CONDITIONS OF APPOINTMENT AND TERMS OF SERVICE
- The following is a summary of the basic terms and conditions of service. Fuller details, including the conditions of appointment, will be supplied to candidates who are offered appointment.
PROHIBITION OF PRACTICE
- A District Judge shall not practise as a barrister or solicitor or be indirectly concerned in any such practice (Section 75 Courts and Legal Services Act 1990). The Lord Chancellor also regards a judgeship as a lifetime appointment. Any offer of appointment is therefore made on the understanding that appointees will not return to practice.
APPOINTMENT TO A CIRCUIT
- The Lord Chancellor normally expects that judges will serve until retirement on the circuits to which they are first assigned. No application for a transfer may be made until a judge has served 5 years in the group of courts to which they were assigned. Extenuating circumstances may provide an exception to this general policy.
- A District Judge is required to vacate his or her office on the day on which he or she attains the age of 70 (Section 26 of the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Chief Justice. A District Judge may be removed from office by the Lord Chancellor on grounds of misbehavior or inability to perform the duties of the office (Section 11 County Courts Act 1984. No such removal may be carried out without the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice.
SALARY, INCOME TAX AND NATIONAL INSURANCE
- Income tax, which is payable under parts 2 to 7 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions Act) 2003, is deducted at source from the salary of a judicial office holder, in accordance with PAYE arrangements. A District Judge is classed as an "employed earner" for National Insurance purposes and is liable for class 1 contributions, which are deducted from salary together with income tax. Since the judicial pension scheme has been contracted out of the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme, contributions are payable at the lower, contracted-out rate. Liability for National Insurance contributions ceases at state retirement age even if service continues thereafter.
- It should be noted that successful candidates will have the option of joining either a final salary judicial pension scheme, non-registered for tax purposes, or a career average judicial pension scheme which is registered for tax purposes. Which scheme is applicable is determined by eligibility criteria and further details will be provided to individual candidates shortly after offer letters are issued.
- The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice consider it essential for salaried District Judges to devote not less than 215 days each year to judicial business. District Judges are required to perform other judicial duties in addition to their actual sittings, for example "box work", reading case papers and other material and preparing judgments etc. District Judges' sittings are arranged in consultation with Regional Judicial Secretariats and their staff on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice.
UPPER AGE LIMIT
- The Lord Chief Justice will not normally extend the appointment of a District Judge beyond the age of 70.
- No adjustment is made in the District Judge’s salary during any absence on sick leave. Although nothing is specially laid down, no limit is placed on the length of absence, provided there is a reasonable prospect of an eventual return to duty.
- A range of reasonable adjustments to working practices and equipment may be available for judicial office holders who have, or acquire, an impairment or long-term medical condition amounting to a disability. The nature of the adjustments and whether they are reasonable, will be specific to an individual office holder. No judicial office holder will be asked to fund reasonable adjustments from his or her personal resources.
- An offer of appointment is conditional on the District Judge residing, when he/she has taken up an appointment, in a place which is within a reasonable distance of his/her base court or courts.
TRAVELLING ETC ALLOWANCES
- As elsewhere in Crown service, travelling allowances may not be paid for journeys between a judge's home and the designated principal court or courts. Travelling etc allowances are payable in respect of other official journeys. A night subsistence allowance is payable where a judge is obliged, by sitting away from the principal court, to stay away from home. The rules governing the rates and payment of these allowances may change from time to time, and any such changes will be notified. HM Revenue & Customs tax rules may also change and any such changes will be notified to office holders.
COST OF TAKING UP APPOINTMENT
- No assistance is available from public funds towards any costs incurred (e.g. through a move of house) on appointment as a District Judge. Exceptionally, however, a serving judge is entitled to relocation expenses if, as a result of that appointment, removal of home becomes necessary.
OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS
- A District Judge should not in any capacity engage in any activity which might undermine, or be reasonably thought to undermine, his or her judicial independence or impartiality. He or she must expect to forgo any kind of political activity and be on their guard against circumstances arising in which their involvement in any outside activity might be seen to cast doubt on their judicial impartiality or conflict with their judicial office. A person holding a company directorship is expected to relinquish this on appointment to salaried judicial office. A salaried District Judge is also expected to submit his or her resignation to the Lord Chancellor in the event of a nomination or adoption as a prospective candidate for election to Parliament, or to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the European Parliament.
MATERNITY, PATERNITY AND ADOPTION LEAVE
- Judicial office holders are entitled to maternity, paternity and adoption leave. Details of the operation of these entitlements will be provided to office holders as appropriate.
SALARIED PART TIME APPOINTMENTS
- It may be possible for an appointment to be salaried part time, subject to the judicial needs of the courts. Such appointments are permanent and are subject to the same terms and conditions of service as for full-time appointments, which are set out in this document. This includes the requirement that appointees will not continue to practise.
- Salary, annual leave, sick pay and pension benefits will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, based upon the full-time requirement of 215 judicial days per year. A salaried part-time office holder will be expected to sit for the full duration in longer cases.
Ministry of Justice
A District Judge who immediately prior to his or her appointment held another salaried judicial office to which he or she had been appointed prior to the commencement of the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 (31 March 1995) will retain the compulsory retirement date applicable to him in the former office.