The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) invites applications for Recorder 2018
Launch date: 13:00 on 19 June 2018
Closing date: 13:00 on 3 July 2018
Number of vacancies: The JAC has received an amended vacancy request during the course of this selection exercise. There are now up to 160 vacancies (decreased from up to 250) including 2 Welsh speaking posts. This exercise remains non-jurisdictional and the JAC will recommend the most meritorious candidates for appointment.
Fee: £642.10 a day
You should first consider whether you are ready to apply for this role, and so may wish to look at the Am I Ready? tools on the JAC website.
Overview of the role
Recorders are appointed nationally and assigned by the Lord Chief Justice to a Circuit within England and Wales.
The jurisdiction of a Recorder is broadly similar to that of a Circuit Judge; Recorders are required to read and assimilate case papers before a hearing or trial starts and play an active role in case management. Recorders must control the manner in which cases are conducted, decide issues of law and procedure that may arise during a case and provide reasons for any ruling. Recorders are expected to keep abreast of legal developments; this entails a substantial amount of reading not directly connected with the cases which they are trying.
Following appointment, and subject to completion of training and sitting in, all Recorders deployed to sit in family will be required to sit in Private Law with the majority also requiring authorisation in Public Law, subject to senior judicial approval. In addition, some successful applicants will be deployed to sit solely in the civil jurisdiction. Again, this will be subject to completing training and sitting in, and to business need.
Following appointment, there will be an opportunity for Recorders to seek cross authorisation across the jurisdictions. This remains subject to the support of the relevant leadership judiciary, senior judicial approval and completion of relevant induction and training events.
Terms and conditions for Recorder 2018
Job description for Recorder 2018
Judicial pensions guide 1993
Judicial pensions guide 2015
Deployment: Location and jurisdiction
Successful candidates will be deployed to sit in either crime, family or civil jurisdictions across all circuits. You will be required, on your application, to indicate and rank both your jurisdictional and location preferences. However, this information will play no part in selection decisions and will be used for deployment purposes only.
Final deployment decisions will be a matter for the Senior Presiding Judge. It may not always be possible to deploy successful candidates in line with their preferences, depending on business need. Candidates may, therefore, be deployed to any of the circuits across England and Wales. In circumstances where the preferences of candidates do not match vacancy requirements, the Senior Presiding Judge will take account of the order of merit to give those who are most meritorious priority of assignment to their preferred circuit.
In order to be considered for appointment to this post, you must meet the eligibility requirements below. We will not be assessing eligibility until after the online scenario test in September. It is therefore your responsibility, and in your own interests, to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting an application.
Under section 21(2) of the Courts Act 1971, as amended by paragraph 9 of Schedule 10 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCE Act), no person shall be appointed a Recorder unless they satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis.
The TCE Act 2007 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 gained experience in law
The meaning of “gain experience in 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 solicitor or barrister.
In order to meet the statutory qualifications for appointment, a solicitor (or a salaried judicial office holder who was formerly a solicitor) must appear on the Roll.
You may wish to note that service as a magistrate is not considered demonstrative of gaining experience in the law or as being equivalent to previous judicial experience.
Candidates must be either a UK citizen or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. 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 judicial officer must allow for a reasonable length of service before retirement. Usually for these posts it is 4 years.
The Commission will make the decision as to whether a candidate will be able to provide a reasonable length of service.
Posts in Wales
Candidates for posts in Wales need to have an understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales. This includes legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. This will be assessed at selection day.
Welsh speaking posts
Additional to the above posts in Wales, there are also 2 Welsh speaking posts. These posts require both an understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales (including legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements) and the ability to speak Welsh. The Welsh speaking element will not be tested at selection day but will be conducted over the telephone with a Welsh speaking judge, the JAC’s Welsh Commissioner and a Welsh speaking lay panel member. The telephone call will consist of the judge asking up to two questions which require a response in Welsh; the assessment will take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
The JAC does not have any information pertaining to the jurisdiction/s of these posts; this will be a matter for deployment which is overseen by Judicial Office.
Conflicts of interest: Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Government Legal Service (GLS)
We welcome applications from lawyers in the CPS, SFO, GLS.
However, CPS and SFO lawyers are not able to sit as a recorder in crime (or for any matter involving their own Government department). Therefore, any CPS or SFO lawyer who wishes to be appointed in crime and is successful, will be expected to resign in order to take up appointment.
However CPS and SFO lawyers can be appointed to sit in family or civil without a requirement to resign.
Open for applications: 19 June 2018 at 13:00
Close for applications: 3 July 2018 at 13:00
Qualifying test instructions issued via email: 12 July 2018
Online qualifying test: 19 July 2018
Outcome of online qualifying test issued: mid August 2018
Online Scenario test instructions issued via email: 4 September 2018
Online Scenario test: 11 September 2018
Outcome of online scenario test issued. Request for candidates to complete Part 2 of their application: mid October 2018
Eligibility checks being conducted: September to October 2018
Request for independent assessments: mid October 2018
Deadline for the submission of Part 2 of the application: 23 October 2018 at 13:00
Character checks being conducted: November to December 2018
Deadline for the receipt of independent assessments: 7 November 2018 at 13:00
Formal selection day invitation issued: week commencing 5 November 2018 (by noon Thursday 8 November 2018)
Selection days: 3 December 2018 to 1 March 2019
Statutory consultation comments sought: March to April 2019
Outcome of selection process expected by: Late June 2019
Reading about candidates previously selected for this role is a useful way of finding out more about the skills needed.
Throughout the exercise you will be assessed against the competency framework for this post. Please read the competency framework before making your application: Recorder 2018 Competency Framework
Completing your application
This competition will open for applications at 13:00 on 19 June 2018 and close at 13:00 on 3 July 2018.
In the interest of fairness to all candidates, late applications will not be accepted unless agreed with the selection exercise manager in advance of the application deadline and will only be considered due to exceptional circumstances.
Applications must be submitted on the JAC’s online application system which will be accessible by selecting the ‘Apply’ button on the competition homepage once the exercise launches. After selecting ‘Apply’ select ‘log in to an existing account’ if you already have an account. If you do not already have an account select ‘Create new account’. Complete all the required sections, ensuring the information you provide is clear and accurate.
The self-assessment section of the application is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to perform effectively in the role; it should not simply be a reiteration of your career history. For each competency you must provide specific examples from your own experiences, describing the situation, your role, what you did, and the outcome. You must be concise as you are limited to 250 words for each competency.
Guidance on completing the candidate self-assessment and choosing the best examples in your self-assessment.
Self-assessments and independent assessments will be considered at the selection day stage and will play no part in the shortlisting process. Shortlisting will be by way of the online qualifying test and online scenario test.
Read the guidance about independent assessments before completing your application. Although independent assessments will only be sought for candidates shortlisted to attend a selection day, all candidates must provide their assessors’ contact details in their online application.
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.
Independent assessments should provide evidence that you have the competencies relevant to the role of a Recorder. Both of your assessors must, therefore, have sound and comprehensive knowledge of your work and 1 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 are a salaried judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of 2 judicial assessors.
If you are a fee-paid judicial office holder, you will need to provide details of 1 judicial assessor and 1 professional assessor.
If you do not currently hold a judicial office, you will need to provide details of 2 professional assessors.
A professional assessor could be:
- a senior partner or head of chambers if you are a solicitor, barrister or attorney
- a client, magistrate or local authority official if you are a sole practitioner
- a judge who is able to provide an assessment of your professional role
If you are a judicial office holder, a judicial assessor could be:
- the senior judge of the tribunal, court, jurisdiction or circuit where you sit most often or your appraising judge
- the Lord Justice Clerk or Sheriff Principal if you are a Sheriff (Scotland only)
You must ensure all 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.
Do not nominate Sir Henry Globe, HH Neil Ford QC, the Senior Presiding Judge and the Lord Chief Justice as independent assessors, as they are the Lead Judges, Statutory Consultee and the Appropriate Authority respectively. Nor should you nominate a JAC Commissioner.
If you have any queries about who to nominate as your independent assessors please contact the JAC.
Stage 1: Online qualifying test
All applicants will receive qualifying test instructions by email on 12 July 2018.
All applicants will be invited to participate in an online qualifying test on 19 July 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00.
Stage 2: Online scenario test
If you are successful in the online qualifying test stage you will be invited to sit an online scenario test.
Applicants who are successful following the stage 1, online qualifying test will receive online scenario test instructions by email on 4 September 2018.
Applicants will be invited to participate in an online scenario test on 11 September 2018 from 07:00 to 21:00.
If you are unable to sit the test on the date specified above due to exceptional circumstances or because it is a religious holiday, please email Recorder2018@judicialappointments.gov.uk and we will arrange for you take the test on a later date (which will fall no more than a week after the original date).
Following each of the 2 shortlisting stages in this exercise, the JAC will produce a feedback report analysing how candidates performed overall. This report will also include information on the method of marking, including guidance and information on the distribution of marks available to applicants.
This report will be published on the JAC website. The JAC cannot provide bespoke feedback for individual candidates at the shortlisting stages; please do not make a request as exceptions are not made.
Stage 3: Selection day
If you are successful in the stage 2, online scenario stage you will be invited to a selection day which will take place between 3 December 2018 to 1 March 2019. We will not be able to offer an alternative selection day outside this period.
The selection days will take place at a number of venues across England and Wales; you will be asked to indicate your preferred selection day location and your availability in Part 2 of the application form. Where possible we will take into account your preference. However, due to the number of candidates and locations involved, we cannot guarantee that you will be offered a selection day at your preferred location.
The selection day will comprise a role play followed by a competency-based interview. The panel will be seeking evidence from you against the competencies for the post. Further details will be sent with the formal invitation to attend which you will receive in the week commencing 5 November 2018. If you have not received an email by noon on 8 November 2018 please contact the JAC immediately.
Candidates applying for posts in Wales will be asked some additional questions at selection day relating to Welsh matters. This is to allow the panel to assess your understanding, or the ability to acquire the understanding, of the administration of justice in Wales, including legislation applicable to Wales and Welsh devolution arrangements. If you are considered unsuitable for the Welsh posts, this will not affect your suitability for posts in England.
Please note that the Welsh speaking element will be tested outside of your selection day over the telephone. Dates are to be confirmed but are likely to be after the selection day period.
Please note that selections are made solely on merit. Following deployment decisions you will only be offered 1 post, therefore please consider your preferences carefully.
More information about selection day, including interviews and role plays
The JAC provides reasonable adjustments to ensure that candidates with disabilities are not placed at a substantial disadvantage. We will also consider making reasonable adjustments for those suffering from short-term injury or temporary illness. Details can be found in the JAC's reasonable adjustments policy. Candidates will have the option to outline their reasonable adjustment requirements on their JAC website account.
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 for which candidates are applying, or someone else with other relevant experience. For this selection exercise, the JAC will consult with the Senior Presiding Judge, Lady Justice Macur. The information provided by the Statutory Consultee will be used to inform selection decisions.
Information on statutory consultation
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 shortlisted for selection day will be requested to complete a consent form which will be included in Part 2 of your application form.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2016 allows for the full disclosure 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. Failure to declare any matters that come to light from the JAC's checks may prejudice the outcome of your application. Read the good character guidance before applying.
You may update the character section of your JAC profile at any time. This is your continuing responsibility throughout the process for any matter that may arise up to the point of appointment.
Equal merit provision
In line with its published policy, the Commission will apply the equal merit provision policy to this exercise.
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 2017), based upon primary appointment, as published on the Judiciary website.
The population of the United Kingdom ('usual residents') aged 25 to 74 that are women is 50.4%, while BAME is 11.3%. The proportion of Recorders that are women is 20% and of those who declared their ethnicity, 7% declared they were from a BAME background.
The Committee 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. The Committee will, therefore, invite those candidates to a second interview, to enable it to make a selection decision.
Diversity information for previous selection exercises is on the JAC's official statistics pages.
The Selection and Character Committee will consider which candidates to recommend to the Appropriate Authority as set out in the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013.
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.
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 on to the Lord Chief Justice.
All successful candidates across the three jurisdictions – crime, family and civil – will be recommended for appointment according to the existing information page timeline i.e. outcome of selection process expected by late June 2019.
All candidates will be assessed using the same non-jurisdictional tools and selected on merit.
Outcome of the exercise
We will issue results by email around late June 2019.
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.
Successful candidates will attend a week-long residential course as follows:
- those candidates deployed to crime will be required to attend a week-long residential training course
- for criminal practitioners the sitting-in period is 5 days post-induction course but for non-recent criminal experience there is an additional 5 days before the induction course
- Dates and venues for training to be confirmed
- those candidates deployed to family will be required to attend a 7 day residential course over a 2 week period, 2 to 11 October 2019. The induction will cover both public and private family law
- for family practitioners the sitting-in period is up to 5 days post-induction course but for non-recent family experience there may be a requirement to also complete a sitting-in period prior to the induction course
- those candidates deployed to civil will be required to attend a week-long residential training course
- For civil practitioners, there will be a total of 5 sitting-in days: 1 day before the induction and 4 days post-induction
- Dates and venues for training to be confirmed
If you have any questions regarding this role or your application, contact:
Email enquiries: Recorder2018@judicialappointments.gov.uk
Katharine Hanley (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by email only Monday and Friday): Selection Exercise Manager on 020 3545 8910
Lisa Grant: Senior Selection Exercise Team Manager on 020 7340 0505
If you are unable to reach a member of the team, please redial using one of the alternative numbers above.