Judicial Careers

Informal Seminars

From time to time the Chancery Bar Association organises informal seminars for members thinking about applying for part-time judicial appointment, such as a Recorder, Tribunal Judge or Deputy District Judge.

The purpose of these seminars is to provide an insight into the application process and also for some of our members who sit as part-time judges to share their experiences with others.  The last seminar was in March 2015 and took place in advance of the competition for Recorders.  In July 2015 the ChBA organised a workshop to help members who were applying, or considering applying, to sit as Deputy High Court Judges authorised under section 9(4). In May 2016, Lady Justice Hallett spoke on the Judicial Appointments process, and in March 2017, the Chancery Masters gave a workshop on how to apply for their role.

Judicial Appointments Commission

There is more information about competitions for judicial appointment, the application process and details relating to past competitions on the website for the Judicial Appointments Commission.

The Chancery Bar Association is also responsible for representing the interests of its members to the Judicial Appointments Commission.

2017 Recorder Competition - On 11 October 2016 Lord Justice Burnett, the Vice-Chair (Judicial) of the JAC, addressed the ChBA about the forthcoming competition to appoint 100 Recorders sitting in crime and family.  He revealed, for the first time, the "profound changes" that the JAC will be making to the selection process for appointing Recorders.

Most importantly: (i) The selection process will not involve any testing of criminal law and procedure or family law and procedure. (ii) There will be four stages to the selection process.  This will involve two different on-line tests (testing situational judgment and critical analysis), a telephone assessment, and a selection day (role play and interview); (iii) Only candidates who get through to the third stage of the process, the telephone assessment, will be required to complete and submit self-assessment forms.  These forms will not be required at the outset of the application process. (iv) Likewise, only candidates who get through to the third stage of the selection process will be required to identify the names of their referees/independent assessors.  Indentification of referees will not be required at the outset of the application process. (v) The JAC are looking to appoint the best 100 potential judges from the candidates who apply.  It is not necessary for candidates to have any experience of criminal or family law, or any previous experience of sitting. (vi) There is no prospect of a competition to appoint civil-only Recorders in the foreseeable future.

2015 Recorder Competition On 28 September 2015 the ChBA sent the JAC its Feedback Report in relation to the 2015 Recorder Competition.  The purpose of the report was to convey to the JAC the profound concern of the ChBA as to the fundamental unfairness of the selection exercise.  The report explained in detail why the members of the ChBA, and indeed anyone who does not practice in criminal or family law, were at a significant disadvantage in relation to the 2015 Recorder Competition and, in particular the qualifying test, which took place on 7 May 2015.  The report was prepared with the support of COMBAR, who agreed with the conclusions contained in the report.  The ChBA sent the report to senior members of the judiciary and to the Bar Council.  Please click here to see the full report.

On 25 November 2015 the ChBA sent the JAC a Supplementary Feedback Report in relation to the second stage shortlisting.  The purpose of this report was to convey to the JAC that, for those civil practitioners who made in through the qualifying test, they were then faced with a second stage that was profoundly unfair to them.  The report explained in detail why the members of the ChBA, and indeed anyone who does not practice in criminal or family law, were at a significant disadvantage in relation to this second stage of the selection exercise.  The report was prepared with the support of COMBAR, who agreed with the conclusions in the report.  The report was sent to senior members of the judiciary.  Please click here to see the full report.

The ChBA’s letter to the Chairman of the JAC in April 2015 registering the Association’s concerns about the qualifying test for the 2015 Recorder Competition, the Chairman of the JAC’s response to that letter dated 27 May 2015, and the ChBA’s answer to that letter on 28 September 2015 is available by clicking here (only available to members).

The outcome of the 2015 Recorder Competition was that 11 (17%) of the 64 recorders appointed to sit in crime have non-criminal practices, whereas 53 (83%) have criminal practices.  However, of those 11 only 5 (8%) of the 64 recorders appointed to sit in crime do not have any experience of criminal law.  Only 2 (5%) of the 35 recorders appointed to sit in family have non-family practices, whereas 33 have practices in family law. For the ChBA's analysis, please click here.

Following their reports in relation to the Recorder Competition, the ChBA met with the JAC on 14 January 2016.  The ChBA's Note of the meeting with the JAC on 14 January 2016, together with the points of further clarification provided by the JAC on 16 March 2016, is available by clicking here.

2015 Deputy High Court Judge Competition Please click here for a note of the telephone conversation between the ChBA and the JAC on 29 June 2015.  Please click here for a note of the telephone conversation on 20 July 2015 between JAC and ChBA in relation to Professional References.

Ex-Members of the ChBA

In certain circumstances it may also be possible for members interested in applying for judicial appointment to be put in touch with ex-members of the Chancery Bar Association who sit as full-time judges or tribunal members.