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What is our work-life balance like and how does it compare with private practice?

District judges discuss how becoming a judge changes their personal and professional lives.

“As a barrister you’re self-employed and you never know where your next case is going to be, where you might be sent, how long you’re going to be there. You work a lot at weekends and in the evenings and it’s very uncertain; it’s exciting and you live on adrenalin but it’s very difficult to plan. As a judge you’re more static, you usually stay in one court, you have more regular hours and you can plan your life better.”

“I was a solicitor, but it’s now 15 years since I was in private practice so it’s difficult to say too much about how things operate today. Judges are employees, we are public employees and so we receive a salary and a pension entitlement and so on, like most public sector employees.”

“Well all barristers and most or many solicitors, certainly when they’re at partner level, are self-employed. Your terms and conditions of service are not certain, your profits depend on how the firm has performed that year or your performance so although they may be greater or they may be lesser than those as a judge, they’re not certain, and as a judge you have the certainty of your terms and conditions, your pension, your holidays as a public sector employee rather than a private sector.”

“Being a district judge works extremely well with being a working mother. I am able to plan my child-care because I know what days I’m working, I know the time I’m working and I know where I’ve got to be, and I pretty much can organise my life around being home at a certain time which is really important, and also I am able to work part-time so I have rather longer in the school holidays to be with the children.”