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Damien Moore is a fee-paid Chairman of the Police Appeals Tribunal. He began his career as a solicitor’s clerk aged 19, qualifying as an ILEx Fellow in 2001. He is now a Solicitor-Advocate and partner at Fosters Solicitors.
What has happened to Damien since he took on his judicial role? We got in touch to find out how he was enjoying it and what he’s learned since his appointment.
“I am thoroughly enjoying my new position and the challenges which it brings. The first moment I was addressed as "Sir" was a sobering experience and brought home the reality of the appointment. The role really compliments my career at Fosters who have been incredibly supportive.
“Some of my counterparts have now seen my case study on the JAC website and have asked me about my experience of the process. I have encouraged these people to push forward with their own applications in the knowledge of the fairness of the selection process. I have been able to provide them with guidance and support.
"I now have 12 months under my belt as a Tribunal Chairman which has given me time to reflect on the selection process. I believe that the JAC really does allow any applicant from any background to have a fair chance of being selected for judicial office should that person possess the correct qualities. It is an incredibly transparent process which allows you to measure yourself against other candidates. Whilst I am not a barrister or a QC I felt that as an experienced solicitor-advocate, formerly a legal executive and having worked in the legal profession since the age of 19 I had many qualities and experiences which I could put forward to support my application. The fact I was appointed underlines the JAC's fair and upright approach.
“My career has always been about ‘finding the next challenge’. I’ve always wanted to go one step higher and I feel I have achieved that, which is extremely rewarding.
“I joined the legal profession when I was 19 as a solicitor’s clerk doing a little bit of everything. Then I went down the ILEx route and qualified as a Fellow in 2001. I became a solicitor in 2004.
“It’s incredible that in the space of 19 years I’ve gone from being the boy who makes the tea, right to the top. It is an achievement and I do feel proud of that.
“In today’s climate it’s very difficult for young people coming out of university to secure training contracts. The advantage of the CILEx route is that it provides young people with a foot in the door. I think it is now one of the best routes. It is hard work because you are working full time and studying but if you are motivated and you want to get through it then you’ll reap the rewards at the end of it.
“Following qualification as a Fellow of ILEx and then a Solicitor I always knew that I wanted to be a partner. As a partner at Fosters I was provided with the additional role of becoming a branch manager. This brought some new challenges and a new skill set. After three years of this role I was looking for my next challenge. A judicial position seemed to be the next step.
“The JAC website was my first port of call, without looking at the website I think you would be underprepared. It tells you everything that you need to know and do. Reading the case studies gives you a valuable insight and tips on how to present yourself in the best light.
“I also spoke to other people who had successfully been through the process and they gave me lots of advice.
“I found the process detailed and challenging but I was also made to feel comfortable. It was very well run and everything went to time so I was calm in myself. The panel put me at ease. I felt relaxed and gave honest answers, rather than answers I thought the panel might want to hear - I was just myself. In giving honest answers the panel saw my character and personality.
“After the exercise I said to my family that even if I didn’t get through I was really pleased I had completed the process and I wouldn’t be put off doing it again. I found it a really positive experience.
“I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity and in particular conducting the hearings. I am excited about having a different role to play – rather than putting forward an argument, actually deciding on the issues in front of you. It’s a different skill set, looking at things very objectively.
“My firm Fosters has been incredibly supportive. They see my role as something very positive for them in terms of having a partner who will now acquire this different skill set. They will ensure I have the time I need to dedicate to the position because they can see the benefits it will bring in terms of personal, professional and business development.”