Recordership is often the first step on the judicial ladder to appointment to the circuit bench.

Where they sit

Recorders may sit in both Crown and County Courts, but most start by sitting in the Crown Court. Their jurisdiction is broadly similar to that of a circuit judge, but they will generally handle less complex or serious matters coming before the court.

Recorders are required to manage cases actively as well as to determine claims at trial. A recorder’s duties include assisting the parties to prepare for trial, presiding over court proceedings and delivering judgments in both applications and contested trials.

Recorders are expected to sit for 30 days a year. Recorders may choose whether to count training days as sitting days. Newly appointed recorders have to attend a Judicial Studies Board residential induction course and to sit in with a circuit judge for one week. A Royal Warrant will then be issued and the recorder’s first week of sitting will be supervised. Recorders also attend periodical continuation courses lasting two days every three years.


Recorders are appointed by the King on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor, after a fair and open competition administered by the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Appointments are for five years, and are usually automatically extended by the Lord Chancellor for further successive terms of five years.

Court dress

Whether sitting in the Crown or County court, Recorders wear a black coat with bands, a King’s Counsel or junior barrister’s gown.