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Deputy Queens Bench Master

Closing date:  14 November, 2019 - 13:00

The JAC has been asked to identify 2 candidates suitable for selection as Deputy Queen's Bench Masters. This exercise is expected to launch in October.

About the role

A Deputy Queen’s Bench Master has an important role in preparing high profile cases for trial at the High Court. This is an exciting and prestigious opportunity to work at the Royal Courts of Justice.

All litigation in the Queen’s Bench Division Central Office is assigned to Queen’s Bench Masters for case management. The Queen’s Bench Masters also have a trial jurisdiction. The claims issued in the Queen’s Bench Division are high value complex claims concerning contract and tort, especially personal injury claims including industrial disease claims, professional negligence actions including clinical negligence, media and communication claims, human rights claims, and complex contractual disputes. The Queen’s Bench Division also deals with enforcement of British, EU and foreign judgments and awards.

The work of Queen’s Bench Masters is challenging, varied and closely analogous to the civil work of High Court Judges, with whom the Masters have a strong working relationship.  QB Masters have the opportunity to specialise in different areas of the jurisdiction.  These include the Asbestos List, which deals with asbestos disease on a UK wide basis, the Clinical Negligence List and the Media and Communications List. 

The main duties of the post are:

  • hearing applications, case and cost management hearings, assessments of damages and trials as allocated to them by the QB Masters Listing Section at the direction of the Senior Master. This will require speedy absorption of material and analysis of information, especially in the context of substantial and complex civil actions where the material placed before the court may be voluminous
  • undertaking case and cost management in a proactive manner of substantial and complex civil actions both pre- and post-trial
  • undertaking costs budgeting of claims in conjunction with their case management and carrying out summary assessment of costs
  • dealing with costs issues and disputes (save where these are within the remit of the SCCO)
  • deciding complex interlocutory issues of jurisdiction, forum, service, limitation, summary disposal, evidence and enforcement.  
  • undertaking trials usually those lasting up to three days and may comprise trials of preliminary issues on liability or limitation, assessments of damages and short/less complex trials on all issues
  • giving sound judgments extempore or in written form which state clearly and succinctly the issues and the reasons for their decisions
  • working as part of the strongly collegiate team of Masters supporting their colleagues and the duties of the Senior Master
  • being familiar with the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions and with specialist areas of QB practice
  • Deputy Masters are expected to be IT literate, to case manage by operation of the QB electronic working and filing system, and to make the fullest possible use of digital means of research and communication

Experience in civil litigation, is desirable although not essential.

Who can apply

This exercise is open to solicitors and barristers in England and Wales with at least 5 years post qualification legal experience.

Candidates should also be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually of 4 years, before the statutory retirement age of 70.

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.

Sign up for alerts  to receive email notifications concerning the progress of this exercise up to launch.