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)
- Judge of the First-tier Tribunal;
- Employment Judge;
- Road User Charging Adjudicator; and
- Adjudicators (regulation 17 Civil Enforcement of Parking Conventions)
CILEX strongly recommends that members who are considering applying for a judicial appointment take part in the CILEX Judicial Development Programme, Pre-Application Judicial Education Programme and Judicial Workshadowing 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 Judicial Mentoring Scheme has been developed which focuses 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. Further details can be found here.
How to find out about vacancies
- Visit the JAC website regularly and check forthcoming vacancies.
- Subscribe to ‘Judging Your Future’, the JAC’s monthly email newsletter.
- Sign up for email alerts for individual vacancies to receive notifications about the launch dates.
- Follow the JAC on Twitter and LinkedIn.
How to prepare for application and selection
- Evaluate yourself with Am I ready?
- Read case studies of successful candidates.
- Take a look at an overview of the selection process.
- Visit the Judiciary website to learn more about the work of judicial officeholders.
- Spend time in and research the jurisdiction you intend to apply for.
- Speak to judges and observe how they work.
- Apply to the Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme run by the Judicial Office.
- Observe courts or tribunals from the public gallery.
- View the digital resources available on the Pre-Application Judicial Education (PAJE) programme webpage and consider applying for a place on the discussion groups which run periodically throughout the year.
- Take a look at the guidance launched by the JAC developed to help you prepare for selection exercises
- Make use of the Dry runs which are run by the JAC: The JAC use ‘dry-runs’ for selection exercise elements including online qualifying tests, role plays and interviews to check that the selection materials are fair and robust. Participating in a dry-run as a mock candidate is an excellent opportunity if you are considering applying for judicial appointment in the future to familiarize yourself with the selection process. You will be asked to provide your views on the delivery of the test, in relation to, for example, the test content and timings, and you will be provided with feedback on your performance. You can sign up online with your preferences and the JAC will contact you when an opportunity arises, and you would be eligible for the post in question. This can help you decide if you are ready to apply, or to understand where you might need development. You can find all the details 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.