Solicitor judges

How the PAJE course helped me prepare my judicial application

The Pre-Application Judicial Education (PAJE) programme helps lawyers from under-represented groups who are interested in becoming a judge to feel more confident about applying. Recent participants share their experiences.

Signs pointing to Magistrates' Court, Crown and County Courts in front of  Croydon Law Courts buildings on sunny winter day  (Croydon, England - March 25, 2012)

Asit Jansari, director

“I had the honour of being accepted on to the PAJE programme recently and found it an amazing opportunity to increase my experience and understanding, providing me with many more resources to consider a career within the judiciary.

“The course was run online (due to COVID-19) and required preparatory work, but it also gave access to members of the judiciary who had been there and done it already.

“If you can get on to the course, then I would not hesitate to recommend it.”

Anon

“I attended the PAJE course because I am interested in applying to the judiciary and because my background isn't typical of the judiciary.

“I found the course really interesting and helpful, and it made me feel better equipped to apply.”

Deidre Sheahan, director

Deidre Sheahan is a white woman with long, dark-brown hair, wearing a red-brown dress, smiling at the camera“I applied as part of my first steps in considering a judicial career. I wanted to know more about the practical, day-to-day challenges and decisions faced by judges, in particular outside my own area of specialism.

“The course far exceeded my expectations. The judges were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. I learned a lot more about the resources available to judges.

"The course requires active participation [which is] incredibly helpful when preparing to apply for a judicial position.

“I had heard and read that the process of becoming a judge was particularly arduous, and your chances of success were based on 'who you know'."

Anon

“As a Black, female barrister who has been practising for over 16 years, I thought it was finally time to be educated about the 'ins and outs' of how to become a judge.

“The PAJE course did not disappoint, as judges shared their experiences of scenarios they had encountered and set us tasks to share with the rest of the team – which led to some thought-provoking, enlightening and colourful debates.

“I highly recommend the course to anyone who is considering a judicial role, as it will illuminate your understanding regarding the spectrum of what is entailed.”

Faizal Essat, chartered legal executive advocate, Essat Law Ltd

Faizal Essat is a man, wearing braces and a blue shirt and tie. He has a trimmed grey beard and smiles off as he looks to the left of the camera.“I had applied on two former occasions for judicial selection but did not get through.

"I wish I had undertaken this course sooner as it would help me know where my shortcomings were.

“For my part, the course confirmed and reinvigorated my ambition to progress as a lawyer working in the judiciary. It is also a good opportunity to address specific concerns and prejudgements that we have in life generally.

“One key benefit was that the programme was delivered by judges who were able to explain the role, their personal experiences in various jurisdictions, and how they were able to meet their own specific challenges – both personal and financial.

"This is something that is not readily available and gives great insight to any potential applicant seriously considering a career in the judiciary. I am a specialist in commercial and civil litigation and hearing first-hand from judges in this area was very helpful.

“The course is unique and I would thoroughly recommend it. I would also commend all the background staff involved in delivering the course remotely. The tech support was very good and enabled everyone to take part fully, notwithstanding the fact that we were not together in person.”

Geri Baird, director

“I was delighted to be offered a place on the PAJE course, held remotely over four evenings in autumn 2020.

"I was interested in applying for judicial roles but was not confident I would have the correct skill level. I qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and have worked mainly in civil and family costs.

“The course was excellent and has given me the confidence to apply for judicial roles. The judges were all open, approachable and very encouraging.

"The course challenged me to think differently about court scenarios, and how to consider every aspect in any given situation. The course was well organised and worked well in the virtual format, allowing for group work and a chance for everyone to give their opinion.

"I would highly recommend the course to anyone thinking of applying to judicial roles.”

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