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Deputy High Court Judge
The Judicial Appointments Commission has been asked to identify up to 20 candidates to recommend for the post of Deputy High Court Judge. Vacancies are available across all 3 divisions (Family, Chancery and Queen’s Bench).
This is an excellent opportunity to gain 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.
No previous judicial experience is required. Solicitors and barristers with at least 7 years post qualification legal experience are eligible to apply.
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.
Foreword by the Lord Chief Justice
Following the success of the last 2 Section 9(4) Deputy High Court Judge competitions, I am pleased to endorse this selection exercise.
I wish to encourage applications from a broad range of candidates who possess exceptional intellectual ability, expertise and experience to deal with the variety of work of the High Court bench. Upon appointment, Deputy High Court Judges will be expected to deal with complex cases. This will require the careful handling of matters of important legal principle and dealing with issues at the forefront of the legal system in England and Wales. I expect candidates for appointment in this competition to have the requisite aptitude and capability of taking on a weighty diet of work in their respective Division. The work of the High Court is fundamentally important, not just to the parties affected immediately and directly, but to wider society as a whole.
It is hoped that those seeking appointment in this competition will plan to apply for salaried High Court positions within the next 4 years (before the fixed-term appointment expires).
If you feel that you meet this demanding standard and think that this is the right career move for you, I encourage you to apply.
Lord Burnett of Maldon
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 1 or 2 weeks.
Depending on the jurisdiction, successful candidates may be given the opportunity to sit across all Divisions of the High Court – subject to the approval of the senior judiciary – and 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
Appointment will be on a four-year fixed-term basis, although candidates will be expected to offer a reasonable length of service of 8 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 provide a reasonable length of service of 5 years before the statutory retirement age of 70.
About the process
Those seeking appointment as a Deputy High Court Judge should have exceptional ability, expertise and experience to deal with all but the very heaviest cases (normally reserved for the salaried High Court Judges). Candidates will be expected to provide evidence of their exceptional skills as part of the selection process. A table of transferable skills 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 the judiciary 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. Further information on completing your self-assessment and choosing the best examples 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 participate in a telephone assessment. The provisional dates for the telephone assessments are Wednesday 11 April to Tuesday 17 April 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 Wednesday 6 June to Wednesday 13 June inclusive. The JAC will also ask your nominated independent assessors to submit their evidence at this stage.
Before you apply
Before you apply you can create an online account. The JAC's online application system requires all candidates to create an account before applying for judicial office. Your account will include your personal, character and diversity profiles. This information is stored on the system so, if you apply for another position in the future, you only need to update your details making the application process quicker and easier.
Check back regularly for updates, and sign up for alerts to receive email notifications concerning the progress of this exercise up to launch.