Become a circuit judge for enhanced job satisfaction

Circuit judges sit in the Crown and County Courts. They are appointed to a particular circuit and hear family, civil or criminal cases depending on which jurisdiction(s) they are appointed to.

To be eligible to apply you must have seven years' post-qualification experience as a solicitor or barrister.

Candidates are also expected to have previous experience as a salaried or fee-paid office holder, or to be able to demonstrate the necessary transferable skills of a circuit judge through a similar role in an equivalent body. Relevant experience could be:

  • disciplinary tribunals
  • conduct hearing or arbitration work, or
  • as a magistrate or a parole board member

Why you should apply

Circuit judge Anne Molyneux says:

“This is the best job in the world. You are a part of the criminal justice system and the work is about ensuring that cases are tried fairly and that people are treated with respect, no matter who they are and no matter what their role in the proceedings might be. There is never need to question what you are doing with your life. It is never boring.”

We asked circuit judge Rajeev Shetty how being a full-time judge compares to working in practice:

“The job as a judge is a lot more structured. The preparation is more during the day rather than in the evening and overnight. So the days are perhaps more intense but your evenings and downtime are a lot more preserved compared to being in practice.

“I’m at the same court every day, compared to previously I might be sent off to Birmingham, Lancaster or Cornwall, one never knew. This helps with family life because you know what you are doing day-to-day.”

Judge Shetty explained that there are many ways to further progress your career while working as a circuit judge:

“There are options to get other tickets or specialisms or perhaps sit on a parole board. You can try more serious cases as you grow in experience, maybe develop into things like terrorism, murder, manslaughter.”

Hear from the circuit judges 

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