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Resident Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, and Regional Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Social Entitlement Chamber (SSCS)

Closing date:  15 May, 2019 - 13:00

Salary:  £137,538

Location:  Across England, Wales and Scotland

The JAC has been asked to identity 6 candidates to recommend for the post of Resident Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber (IAC), and Regional Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Social Entitlement Chamber (SEC, SSCS).

The exact requirements are as follows:

  • IAC: 1 immediate post (Glasgow) and 1 future post (England and Wales, location to be confirmed)
  • SEC: 4 immediate posts (Glasgow, Cardiff, London, and Leeds)

This competition is due to launch in late April 2019.

About the role

Immigration and Asylum Chamber

Immigration Judges, who are assigned work by the Resident Judge, constitute a one-person statutory tribunal, hearing appeals at first instance against the decisions of the Home Secretary, Immigration Officers at ports of entry to the United Kingdom and Entry Clearance Officers at British diplomatic posts abroad about entry to, entitlement to stay in, and removal from, the United Kingdom.

The President will expect the Resident Judge to sit at least 50% of the time in the First-tier Tribunal IAC, normally at their hearing centre, either alone or in developmental panels hearing substantive and more complex appeals. If the Resident Judge also holds an appointment to sit in the Upper Tribunal IAC, they will be expected to do so for at least 20 days a year.

Resident Judge are the principals at their assigned Regional Hearing Centre and work closely with any Designated Judge/Assistant Resident Judge in post in their region. The Chamber President is responsible for the efficient processing of appeals through the Resident Judge.

The post of Resident Judge exists at most major Immigration Regional Centres in the country. The Resident Judge exercises a delegated responsibility from the Chamber President for the allocation of cases to Immigration Judges in the region. Responsibilities include:

  • reporting to the President on the accommodation and judicial needs of the region
  • implementing the President's directions in the overall supervision of listing and judicial work of the region to ensure judicial quality and efficiency
  • attending, as required, Resident Judge’s Conferences when convened by the President
  • the management of judicial business in their centre and any satellite centres
  • maintaining and improving judicial standards in the region, including meeting such judicial performance standards as may be set nationally which are consistent with good quality decision-making and the provision of a fair and speedy appeals service
  • acting on behalf of the President in investigating complaints against Immigration Judges outside of their region and preparing a preliminary report for the President
  • ensuring the efficient processing of appeals at their centre and any satellite hearing centre in his or her charge
  • supervising the allocation and disposal of cases in which the appellant has requested that the appeal be determined without a hearing, or where no representative has been nominated in the United Kingdom
  • mentoring and meeting with all the judges assigned to their hearing centre on a regular basis
  • ensuring the needs and welfare of all the judges of their centre, keeping records as to welfare and sickness issues and notifying the President or his office in accordance with the Welfare Policy for Judicial Office Holders

Social Entitlement Chamber

The office of Regional Tribunal Judge is a key position of judicial leadership and management. In the Social Security and Child Support jurisdiction, there are 7 judicial regions in Great Britain, each headed by a Regional Tribunal Judge who is responsible for, on average, 12 salaried judges and 250 fee-paid judges and members. The members are drawn from different disciplines – medicine, disability analysis, accountancy. The annual caseload of each region is in the range of 60,000 to 75,000 appeals.

The overall aim of the Regional Tribunal Judge is to ensure that appeals are decided justly and fairly, making the most efficient use of resources.

The Regional Tribunal Judge is expected to sit regularly within the jurisdiction and throughout his or her region, dealing particularly with those cases that are complex or have wider significance.

A Regional Judge is required to be IT literate and capable of using available resources (which may include the latest technology) and engaging in, and encouraging the adoption of working practices that makes the best use of these resources.

The main managerial responsibilities, exercised under delegated powers from the Chamber President include:

  • planning the judicial resources requirements of the region; participating in the process of recruitment and selection of judges and members, including the provision of references
  • managing Judicial Office Holders effectively including the conferment and withdrawal of tickets, the allocation of work among judges and members and the maintenance of performance standards
  • identifying training needs and contributing to the design and delivery of training measures; managing the operation of appraisal and mentoring schemes; promoting career development and the welfare of judges and members; dealing with complaints against the judiciary and grievances under established procedures
  • working in close co-operation with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service to ensure that the appeals process is administered efficiently in the interests of justice
  • maintaining effective liaison with tribunal users
  • undertaking the management of specific projects and leading on areas of law and practice, as required by the Chamber President

Salaried part-time working would be considered by the Chamber President for the SEC posts.

Who can apply

You are eligible to apply if:

a) you are a solicitor, barrister or Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives with at least 5 years post qualification legal experience

b) you are an advocate or solicitor in Scotland of at least 5 years standing

c) you are a barrister or solicitor in Northern Ireland of at least 5 years standing

d) in the opinion of the Senior President of Tribunals, you have gained experience in law which makes you as suitable for appointment as if you satisfy any of the conditions at (a) to (c)

Candidates are expected to have previous judicial experience, sitting as a judge in a salaried or fee-paid capacity or a similar role such as the chair of an equivalent body for which a legal qualification is required.  

An equivalent body is one of a quasi-judicial nature for which the powers and procedures should resemble those of a court of law and involve highly complex matters, requiring its members objectively to determine the facts and draw conclusions to reach a reasoned decision. Such decisions could result in the imposition of a penalty, and they are likely to affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties.  Examples could include, but are not restricted:

  • Coroner
  • Disciplinary tribunals and conduct hearings for professional standards bodies
  • Arbitration
  • Parole Board
  • Chair of a statutory inquiry

The length of judicial experience required is a minimum of 30 completed sitting days since appointment, not including training or sick days.

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.

In addition, candidates applying for a post in Wales need to have 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.

The JAC 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.

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