First CILEX Employment Tribunal Judges named

18 October 2021

Graham King and Daniel Wright have become the first CILEX lawyers to be appointed as a fee-paid Judges of the Employment Tribunal.

Graham King and Daniel Wright have become the first CILEX lawyers to be appointed as a fee-paid Judges of the Employment Tribunal. At 37 and 35 respectively they are also the youngest members of CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) to take up judicial roles. 

In December both will begin their training before taking up the part-time positions. 

Graham King is a CILEX Fellow and currently works in contract law for Lyons Davidson in Bristol. He began his legal career specialising in defendant personal injury claims, qualifying with CILEX in 2013 whilst working at Morgan Cole. 

Alongside his legal career, Graham spent 12 years sitting as a magistrate as well a working as a funeral director for a number of years before returning to the law in 2019.

In 2020, he took part in CILEX’s Judicial Development Programme, aimed at providing members with information, support, training, mentoring and encouragement when preparing to make their application for a judicial appointment. He was mentored by HHJ Mark Horton of Bristol Crown Court. 

Daniel Wright is a member of the Government Legal Department and is an advisory lawyer in the children’s law team at the Department for Education. He is a qualified CILEX Litigator and Advocate and before joining the Government Legal Department, worked for Lyons Davidson where he specialised in claimant personal injury work, appearing in more than 500 hearings. 

Graham says, “A career in the judiciary has long been an ambition of mine and it will be a real honour to be one of the first CILEX Fellows to sit as an employment tribunal judge. The application process is tough but with the right skills and expertise – in my case acquired both through working in the law and outside it – it is a goal that is well within reach for many CILEX lawyers. 

“CILEX’s training programme meant that I benefited from expert advice on completing competency-based applications, with valuable support from my mentor, Mark Horton. I hope we see many more CILEX lawyers taking up the opportunity of a judicial career and would like to see the bar on CILEX lawyers applying for positions above district judge level removed so that those with the skills and ambition to reach the most senior levels of the judiciary can progress even further.” 

Daniel says, “A judicial career was something I always had in the back of my mind but when I found myself advocating in a hearing in front of Ian Ashley Smith, the first ever CILEX judge, I saw that this could be an option for me. Five years later and I am looking forward to taking up my first judicial position. 

“My employer has been very supportive, seeing the benefits of having a working judge as part of the team and the different perspective that brings to the legal advice I offer. It’s a long process that requires a lot of dedication and the interview was one of the hardest I’ve ever sat through but I would recommend that any interested CILEX lawyers take a look at the possibility of a judicial career.” 

CILEX Chair, Professor Chris Bones says: “It’s fantastic to see both Daniel and Graham become the first CILEX members to sit as an Employment Tribunal Judges. CILEX lawyers are increasingly making it to the top of the legal profession, as judges, partners and business owners. 

“Earlier this year Elizabeth Johnson became the first full time CILEX judge and the then Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said he wanted to see ‘more judges from a CILEX background’, recognising the important role CILEX has to play in working towards a more representative judiciary.” 

HHJ Mark Horton says: “I am delighted at the news that Graham, who I mentored, and Daniel, have been appointed Employment Tribunal Judges. These appointments demonstrate that CILEX lawyers are genuinely being considered for judicial appointment but more importantly that they have the additional skills needed to apply and be selected. 

“I hope this will provide further encouragement to others and persuade CILEX members to apply.” 

There are currently seven other CILEX Fellows sitting as judges as well as 12 solicitors who initially qualified through CILEX.


For further information, please contact: 

Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 0203 567 1208
or email: [email protected] 

 Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 07525 756 599
or email: [email protected]