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Assistant Judge Advocates General
The JAC has been asked to identify 2 candidates for the post of Assistant Judge Advocate General. Both posts are likely to be based in Catterick, North Yorkshire. One of the vacancies is immediate and the other is expected to arise in the near future. This exercise is expected to launch in July.
Who can apply
You are eligible to apply for these posts if you have 5 years post qualification legal experience as:
- a solicitor or barrister in England or Wales;
- an advocate or solicitor in Scotland; or
- a member of the Bar in Northern Ireland
In addition, candidates should be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually of 5 years, before the statutory retirement age of 70.
The Lord Chancellor also expects that candidates for salaried posts will have sufficient directly relevant experience sitting as a judge in a salaried capacity, or in a fee-paid capacity having completed 30 sitting days at the point of application. Only in exceptional cases and if the candidate in question has demonstrated the necessary skills in some other significant way should an exception be made.
Military knowledge and experience is not required and training will be provided as necessary, dependant on the successful candidates.
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
The Judge Advocate General is Head of the Service Justice System. There is also a Vice-Judge Advocate General and several Assistant Judge Advocate Generals all of whom are civilians.
Most trials take place at Bulford, Colchester, Catterick and Portsmouth although cases can be heard anywhere in the world where the Armed Forces are operating, in particular at Aldergrove (N Ireland), Episkopi (Cyprus) and Sennelager (Germany).
The Court Martial is, for many, the most familiar aspect of the Service Justice System. It has global jurisdiction over all service personnel and civilians subject to service discipline (e.g. family members, civilian contractors, teachers and administrative staff when serving abroad) and hears all types of criminal cases including murder and serious sexual offences.
Serious matters, including both offences against the civilian criminal law and specifically military disciplinary offences, may be tried in the Court Martial, which is a standing court. A Judge Advocate conducts the trial which is broadly similar to a civilian Crown Court trial in all cases, even when dealing with a minor disciplinary or criminal offence.
The jury, known as the board, comprises between three and seven commissioned officers or Warrant Officers depending on the seriousness of the case. Having listened to the Judge Advocate’s directions on the law and summary of the evidence, they are responsible for finding defendants guilty or not guilty.
Following a finding or plea of guilty, the board joins the Judge Advocate to decide on sentence. The Court Martial has the same sentencing powers in relation to imprisonment as a Crown Court, including life imprisonment. Most of the sentencing powers in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 are also available in the Court Martial.
In addition to the Court Martial, the Service Justice System also incorporates the Summary Appeal Court and Service Civilian Court. All Judge Advocates also sit in the Crown Court.
Sign up for alerts to receive email notifications concerning the progress of this exercise up to launch.