The Judicial Appointments Commission will be running the first ever selection exercise this July to appoint up to 14 people from diverse backgrounds, including women, as Deputy High Court Judges.
Deputy High Court Judges sit on a fee-paid basis and have the same responsibilities as High Court Judges.
As the statutory provisions require no previous judicial experience, the JAC selection exercise aims to provide a route to the High Court for those for whom the traditional Recorder route has been a disincentive.
Selection will be supported by a programme of work-shadowing and mentoring for 30 people from diverse backgrounds with no previous experience of judicial office which will run from April to June. This aims to acquaint candidates with the culture and pace of the High Court and will include a workshop to prepare them for the application process.
The newly appointed Deputy High Court Judges, whether they have taken part in the support programme or not, will then be given training and the opportunity to sit in the High Court for up to 30 days, subject to business requirements, so that they will be able to compete on a more level playing field in the 2016 and 2017 High Court judge selection exercises.
Places on the support programme are limited to women, candidates from a BAME background and those coming from less advantaged social or educational backgrounds. These are the areas where the judiciary is significantly less representative of society. Applicants will need to be barristers, solicitors or legal academics and have the qualifications required for application to the High Court and be able to demonstrate the skills and abilities for which the Judicial Appointments Commission will be looking in their selection exercise. They should have no previous judicial experience, but be serious about considering a High Court appointment in the near future. The deadline for applications is 21 April.