Chartered Legal Executives as Judges

As part of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers with five years' post-qualification experience are eligible to apply for some judicial appointments, alongside barristers and solicitors and other recognised lawyers. A key purpose of the legislation was to support diversity by widening the range of those eligible to apply to become judges.

The legislation was part of government commitment to increasing public confidence in the judiciary and the justice system. The widening of eligibility meant that the Judicial Appointments Commission is able to draw from a wider pool of talent when running selection exercises, ensuring the most talented and able candidates are appointed to the judiciary.

The changes have allowed those with the relevant skills, experience and expertise to apply for judicial office, instead of just solicitors and barristers. The following posts are now open to suitably qualified Chartered Legal Executive lawyers:

  • District Judge; District Judge (Magistrates Courts)
  • Deputy District Judge; Deputy District Judge (Magistrates Courts)
  • Road User Charging Adjudicator
  • Legally qualified member of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
  • Member of Panel of Chairmen of the Employment Tribunal;
  • Judge of the First Tier Tribunal; and
  • Adjudicators (regulation 17 Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions).

Next Steps:

CILEx strongly recommends that members who are considering applying for a judicial appointment take part in the workshadow a judge scheme before making an application. The scheme is aimed at giving those who are thinking of applying for judicial office an insight into judicial work and responsibilities. The scheme provides the opportunity to spend up to three days observing (both in and out of court) the working lives of judges.

Judicial Mentoring Scheme

A new Judicial Mentoring Scheme has been developed focussing on addressing under-representation of women, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) lawyers and encouraging greater socio-economic diversity. These are currently the priority areas for both the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals. For further details can be found here.

More information:

The latest posts available through the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) selection exercises can be found here.

UCL Judicial Institute run a course available in the UK that offers lawyers the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a judge. This course is intended for practitioners and legal academics who currently do not hold a judicial post but who may be interested in taking on a fee-paid or salaried judicial appointment in the courts and tribunals in future. The course is open to all CILEx members.

If you would like to discuss opportunities for judicial appointment in more detail please email our Careers Guidance Practitioner at the following address

News articles and case studies:

Simon Lindsey is a Deputy District Judge, Partner and Chartered Legal Executive at Greenwoods Solicitors LLP. Read his case study here.

Ian Ashley-Smith was interviewed by Legal Cheek; he discusses his route into law as well as becoming a Deputy District Judge without having a law degree. Read the full interview here.

"There is now no limit to what Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers can achieve within the legal profession" - First Chartered Legal Executive Judge, Deputy District Judge Ian Ashley-Smith. Read the full press release here.

"After many years in the law I was at a point where I wanted to take a new path which still made use of the experience I accrued in private practice. A judicial role has been very much the route to achieving this." - Second Chartered Legal Executive Judge, Deputy District Judge Simon Lindsey. Read the full press release here.

What judicial posts are available and what are the prospects for practising Chartered Legal Executive Fellows? The CILEx Journal discusses the options.