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High Court selection process open for Queen’s Bench Division and Family Division seats

Date:17 OCT 2013

Royal Courts of JusticeThe Judicial Appointments Commission has launched the application process for nine judicial positions. Eight seats are available in the Queen’s Bench Division and one in the Family Division. The appointments will be made from Spring 2014.

For the first time, one of the Queen’s Bench Division seats is offered as a flexible working or part time post. This follows the enactment in April 2013 of provisions enabling flexible part-time working for the High Court bench. The JAC hope that this will increase diversity and encourage lawyers who may not have considered applying previously to go forward.

Applicants do not need to be QCs and do not need to have sat as a Deputy High Court judge, but must have at least 7 years’ PQE. Applications are also welcome from Circuit Judges who have held that position for at least 2 years. Candidates for both the Queen's Bench and Family Divisions must be of outstanding ability and will be required to demonstrate potential leadership qualities. The Lord Chancellor also expects candidates to have directly relevant previous judicial experience for at least 2 years or 30 sitting days.

For the Family Division post, the successful candidate should ideally be competent across most areas of family law, particularly in dealing with 'money' cases. However, an outstanding candidate who is not necessarily a family specialist may be considered.

Judges appointed to the posts may be required to sit in a Division other than that to which they are assigned, as the business of the court demands. Family Division judges also spend some time on Circuit. Appointments to the Family Division may give a High Court Judge the opportunity to sit in a broad range of jurisdictions, for example criminal, civil, and the administrative court. Judges also carry out duties such as directing family training programmes at the Judicial College, sitting on the Family Justice Council and Family Procedure Rules Committee and sitting on a variety of government working parties and committees. Family Division Judges do not normally sit in the Crown Court.

One Family Division Judge is appointed for each Circuit as a Family Division Liaison Judge (with three for London and the South East). The responsibilities include judicial deployment, supervising the listing of Family Division work on circuit, co-ordinating the work of the Designated Family Judges on circuit and liaising with the local family judges at all levels.  Since April 2013 the Family Division Liaison Judges have been responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Norgrove Committee recommendations as enacted together with the introduction of the Family Court modernisation programme being implemented at both a local and national level.

The application process opened on Monday 14 October 2013 and will close at noon on Monday 4 November 2013. Full details are available on the Judicial Appointments Commission website.