Once you have qualified and have a number of years' experience as a practising solicitor, you could consider applying for a judicial appointment. Judicial service is a real opportunity to take your legal career in a new and challenging direction. You can do this either as a salaried judge full or part-time, or on a fee-paid basis while continuing in practice, sitting for a minimum of 15 days a year.
The benefits of becoming a judge include:
There are several starting points including positions as a Recorder or Deputy District Judge within the Magistrates and Family and Civil Law Courts, and places within a wide range of tribunals. For more information on roles see the Judiciary website.
Since the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) in 2006, the legal profession has made progress towards the creation of a diverse, representative judiciary. The Law Society is working hard with the JAC and the judiciary to ensure there is a level playing field for all candidates. We are also providing practical support to those seeking judicial appointment. See below for updates and information. If you have further questions please email the JAC.
If you're interested in a judicial career and want an insight into judicial life, you may like to apply to take part in the Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme. Eligible legal practitioners can spend up to three days following the work of High Court, Circuit, District or Tribunal Judges. Shadowing can cover any aspect of a judge's work, both in court and out of court. The scheme aims to demystify what it is really like to be a judicial office holder, particularly for groups which are currently under-represented in the judiciary. More information and how to apply
The JAC publishes both the upcoming and longer term programmes of selection exercises online, alongside details on exercises coming up for non-legal judicial roles.See the longer term programmeUpcoming selection exercises
The JAC regularly looks for volunteers with practice backgrounds in family law and crime to trial the written qualifying test for District Judges (Magistrates' Courts). This is an excellent opportunity to experience the test if you're considering applying for a judicial appointment in the future. Find out more
The Law Society Gazette has published extracts from a series of interviews with judges in a judicial appointments supplement (PDF). Transcripts of the full interviews can be downloaded from our judicial appointments case studies page as part of our package of information and support for those within the profession who are interested in following the judicial path.
Solicitors seeking judicial appointments have told the Law Society that the roleplay element of the selection process is particularly challenging for those who have not spent a great deal of time in a courtroom. We have created the following videos to help demystify the roleplay exercise and familiarise solicitors with this part of the process.
The first video shows a full roleplay exercise. In the second, two sitting solicitor judges discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate's performance.
Watch the roleplay video Play the roleplay video with audio description Watch the assessment video
The Junior Lawyers Division has also produced a video on judicial appointments for junior lawyers, which covers the range of judicial posts now available to solicitors and how applying for a judicial post can be factored into a junior lawyer's career planning and professional development.Watch the video
The JAC published a research report in 2009 on why lawyers are deterred from applying for a judicial appointment. It was used to identify practical steps the professions can take to help their members make good applications.View the report at the JAC research centre
The Law Society is working to tackle the common misconceptions identified in the report, by providing good information on the selection process and ensuring new solicitors are aware of judicial career opportunities.
The Law Society has written to Jack Straw calling for a relaxation of the current rules to allow more CPS lawyers to be able to apply for judicial office.Read the Law Society's letter in full (PDF)
Judiciary website Guide to roles in the judiciary
Judicial appointments Latest vacancies and applications
Becoming a judge (PDF) Law Society publication
The Law Society runs various events to help solicitors who are interested in judicial appointments.
View the events
Joining the division will enable you to connect with other solicitor judges and become more involved in the profession through events and networking opportunities.