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s9(4) Deputy High Court Judge

Closing date:  29 November, 2016 - 13:00

Salary:  £856.04 per day

Location:  London

The JAC is pleased to announce that the next Deputy High Court Judge selection exercise launches today.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insight and experience as a Deputy High Court Judge, aimed at those with a serious intent to apply for a salaried appointment in the High Court in the near future.

The sitting requirement is up to 30 days per year, normally in blocks of one or two weeks. Dates are decided by arrangement. There will be a compulsory two day judge-craft training course held in Central London.  The dates are expected to be 22nd and 23rd May 2017. Jurisdictional training and sitting-ins will be discussed and agreed individually with successful applicants on appointment.

While this exercise is open to existing judges, no previous judicial experience is required. All solicitors and barristers with at least seven years’ post qualification experience are eligible to apply if, during that time, they have been engaged in law related activities, as defined under section 52 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

The Commission encourages diversity and welcomes applications from groups currently under represented in the judiciary. The principles of fair and open competition will apply and recommendation for appointment will be made solely on merit.

About the role

Those appointed to sit as Deputy High Court Judges will be expected to undertake work which would otherwise be undertaken by salaried High Court Judges.

The work will include dealing with complex cases, requiring meticulous preparation. Successful candidates will occasionally be asked to reach decisions on paper alone, and may be given a specific trial or hearing that could last one or two weeks in length.

Depending on the jurisdiction successful candidates may hear a range of work including:

  • Complex cases arising out of business and property law disputes, both national and international.
  • The most complex public and private law cases involving children and families, including finding of fact hearings dealing with controversial and difficult medical issues.
  • Financial disputes, including substantial asset divorce cases, cases in relation to children where the parents are unmarried, and financial cases and jurisdictional disputes following foreign divorce decrees.
  • Child abduction and international family law, including relocation cases and the inter-relation of the law of England and Wales with European law.
  • Complex cases in contract, tort and other areas and possibly specialist topics such as planning, commercial, defamation and construction.
  • In the administrative court, judicial review claims and statutory challenges to the actions of public authorities, such as government ministers, local authorities and other public sector bodies.

The Appointment

Appointment will be on a four year fixed term basis, although candidates will be expected to offer a reasonable length of service of eight years before turning 70. This is because it is expected that the successful candidates will wish to apply for a salaried post in the High Court within the period of their appointment as a Deputy.

Deputies subsequently applying to be a salaried High Court Judge are expected to have sufficient relevant judicial experience of at least 30 sitting days before application and, if successful, will be expected to provide a reasonable length of service of five years before the statutory retirement age of 70.

About the process

Those seeking appointment as a Deputy High Court Judge should have exceptional intellectual ability, expertise and experience to deal with all but the very heaviest cases (normally reserved for the full time High Court judges). Candidates will be expected to provide evidence of their exceptional skills as part of the selection process. A table of examples of 'exceptionality' has been produced that might help you to identify areas of your own work that could provide evidence of your exceptional skills. The table is, however, by no means exhaustive.

Throughout the selection process, candidates will be assessed against the Competency Framework for a Deputy High Court Judge. The competencies are aligned to the Judicial Skills and Abilities framework used by Judicial Office and Judicial College, and lists the ways in which a person demonstrates the required skills and abilities when working effectively in post.

As part of your application you will be required to provide, in no more than 250 words per competency, specific examples that demonstrate how your experiences make you suitable for the role. You will only be required to give evidence against two of the competencies at this stage, ‘Exercising Judgement’ and ‘Assimilating and Clarifying Information’.

If you are shortlisted you will be required to provide evidence against the other three competencies before you attend a selection day. Further information on completing your self-assessment is available on the JAC website.

The first stage of the process will be a paper sift based on the information you provide in your application. Those successful in the paper sift will then be invited to participate in a telephone assessment with the assessing panel.

This year the focus of the telephone assessment will be a discussion of issues raised in a set text, which will be sent to you in advance. Discussion of the information provided in your self-assessment will be reserved for the interview stage.

The provisional dates for the telephone assessments are 17 to 24 January inclusive.

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to a selection day consisting of a competency based interview and role play. The provisional dates for the selection days are 23 to 28 February inclusive. The JAC will also ask your nominated independent assessors to submit their evidence at this stage.

Those less familiar in a courtroom setting, and with the work of a Deputy High Court Judge, might wish to observe a case from the public gallery at a local court. The listings office should be able to advise you which cases are being presided over by a Deputy High Court Judge.

You may find it helpful to listen to the interview with Peter Marquand and read the Q&A with Akhlaq Choudhury who were both appointed deputy high court judges in 2016.