We sat down with Amy Shaw and talked with her about her role in the Judicial Office.
What is your job title, and can you give a brief description of your role?
I am the Assistant Secretary to the CJC, a statutory body whose primary role is to advise the Lord Chancellor, the Judiciary and the Civil Procedure Rule Committee on developments to the civil justice system to make it fairer and more efficient. It was once described to me as a sort of ‘thinktank’ on civil justice. My role, along with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary to the CJC, is to support the CJC and its members to perform its function by providing policy and administrative support to the Council and its working groups. The Council is chaired by the Master of the Rolls (The head of civil justice), and my role sits within the Master of the Rolls and the Deputy Head of Civil Justice’s Private Office.
Can you give us a snapshot of an average day?
In an attempt to avoid the cliché that there is no average day, my day would usually consist of attending a meeting for one of the working groups I support. The Council is normally working on a number of projects simultaneously, so there is lots of variety in the type of things I need to think about – from dispute resolution before and during court; to technology used by litigants and the court service; to improving processes and policies for vulnerable users of the civil justice system. As well as this, I provide administrative support to the Council so spend time writing minutes and editing reports, updating our web content, organising conferences and events, responding to Freedom of Information requests, corresponding with members of the public and much more.
Why do you enjoy working for the Judicial Office?
The Judicial Office is a small department with a really friendly atmosphere, people are always willing to share their expertise and help out where they can. Being based in the Royal Courts of Justice is a privilege, you get a real sense for being at the heart of the system and it is always fascinating to wander down to the main hall and see what else is going on in the building.
What has been your best experience since working here?
I have particularly enjoyed accompanying the Master of the Rolls and other members of the senior judiciary on visits. I attended a conference last year and was a little starstruck to meet Baroness Brenda Hale. It is always interesting to get out of the office and visit different court centres. In October, I will be attending the Opening of the Legal Year ceremony which I am really looking forward to.
What would you say to someone thinking of applying for a role in the Judicial Office?
I would encourage anyone thinking of applying for a role within the JO to do so. It is an interesting department with friendly colleagues. My experience of management is that they have an investment in you and your personal development, and this has encouraged me to take steps in my career knowing that I am supported.