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Circuit Judge 2020

Salary:  £140,298

Location:  Across England and Wales

This exercise is expected to launch at 13:00 on 25 February 2020, closing for applications at 13:00 on 17 March 2020.

The JAC has been asked to identify candidates for the post of Circuit Judge. Up to 50 posts are expected across all regions in Civil, Family and Crime, with the majority of the vacancies in Crime. This is a good opportunity for those wanting to take on a challenging and rewarding role and to progress their judicial career.

Who can apply

You are eligible to apply for this post if:

  • you are a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales with at least 7 years post qualification legal experience
  • a Recorder
  • have held, as a full-time appointment for at least 3 years, one of the offices listed in  Part 1A of Schedule 2 to the Courts Act 1971

In addition, whilst there is no upper or lower age limit for candidates apart from the statutory retirement age of 70, candidates should be able to offer a reasonable length of service, usually of 5 years.

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 at the point of application, 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, an exception could be made.

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

Circuit Judges sit in the Crown and County Courts. It is the responsibility of the judge to exercise control over proceedings, both during the pre-trial stage and when presiding over the trial itself, ensuring the proceedings are conducted efficiently and fairly.

Judges sitting in the civil jurisdiction are expected to deal with the whole range of civil cases in the County Court including personal injury and clinical negligence claims; consumer credit and other cases involving personal debt; and housing and possession disputes often involving actions by mortgage lenders or landlords.

In the family jurisdiction, judges deal with a broad range of cases including those relating to financial relief, private children’s’ cases and public children’s cases. Family cases can involve high emotions which must be effectively managed by the judge.

Judges sitting in the crime jurisdiction are expected to deal with a broad range of criminal cases in the Crown Court. When presiding over a trial, a judge must balance the right of the defendant to a fair trial with the interests of the victims and witnesses. The judge must maintain order in the courtroom and ensure the case is presented to the jury in a comprehensible fashion. The judge will also be required to pass sentence in the event of a guilty plea or conviction by the jury.

Circuit Judges are part of a team. Successful candidates will be expected to play a full part in the work of the team, assisting colleagues in dealing with the overall workload of the court and taking on ancillary roles as required.

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