Solicitor judges

JAC shares advice on applying to become a judge

The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has shared updated advice on how to apply to become a judge.

Judges walking into court

Read our support on becoming a judge

Observing court hearings

The JAC encourages candidates to observe court hearings as part of preparing for a judicial application.

Members of the public can observe most court or tribunal hearings – unless they are particularly sensitive, such as family court hearings involving children.

Contact the relevant court or tribunal, which can give you:

  • details of the hearing and how to attend (either via video conferencing or in person)
  • the daily list of hearings for that day and potentially future times

If you’re interested in a particular case, you can often request transcripts of previous hearings.

Find out more about joining a cloud video platform (CVP) hearing

Finding a hearing

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) publishes a list of upcoming hearings. These are free to the public, though you may need to register.

Normally, once you register, you’ll be able to see the details and contact the relevant court or tribunal to view the hearing if it’s held in public.

See the HMCTS hearing lists

If the case is not private, the parties will be asked to give their permission for observers to join the hearing. 

Some of the highest courts have also set up accessible online streaming services for their hearings, including:

Preparing for qualifying tests

Combined qualifying test
The Judicial Appointments Commission will not hold the combined qualifying test in 2021.

In November 2021, the JAC published new guidance to help candidates prepare for selection exercises.

Read the new guidance

Further reading

To get an idea of the type of questions and topics covered in assessments, you may want to read:

Other documents that contain useful information include:

You do not need read these cover to cover, but they can help to put yourself in a judge’s shoes.

If you'd like to know more, read the JAC's guidance on the application process.

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