Recruitment for the High Court Judicial Assistants (JA) scheme

High CourtNews

Job title: Judicial Assistant – High Court of England and Wales
Salary: currently £30,295 pro rata (this may be subject to change with inflation in 2023/24)
Number of jobs available: 13 full time jobs
Detail of reserve list: 12 Months
Region: London
City/Town: London
Building/Site: London CTS Rolls Building/Royal Courts of Justice, EC4A 1NL, London CTS Royal Courts of Justice, WC2A 2LL
Grade: HEO
Organisation Grade for MoJ: HEO equivalent
Post Type: Fixed Term Contract, Loan, Secondment
Duration of appointment: 2 or 4 legal terms
Working Pattern: Full Time
Role Type: Legal Services

Job description:

Judicial assistants (JAs) in the High Court of England and Wales are assigned to judges of the High Court across the three Divisions. They assist the judges(s) to whom they are allocated, for example by carrying out legal research, summarising documents and providing general support for the judge(s) in the organisation of their work and hearings. The application process for placements lasting either two or four legal terms during the 2023-2024 legal year. Interviews will be held during the week beginning 24th April 2023.

Aimed particularly at recently qualified barristers and solicitors in the early stages of their legal career, applications will be invited from those able to demonstrate effective decision making, excellent communication skills, the ability to deliver at pace, as well as a high level of professional integrity.

Candidates will be asked to express their preference(s) in terms of the jurisdiction and courts in which they would wish to be placed, and as to the duration and timing of their placement.

Number of positions:

This recruitment is for the equivalent of 13 full-time appointments for the 2023/2024 legal year. The exact number of appointments will depend on the preferences of the candidates for a placement lasting two or four terms (for example, if all successful candidates request a placement of two terms, there will be capacity for 26 individual appointments during the course of the year.)

Length and periods of placement:

Candidates will be asked to express a preference for a placement of two legal terms or the whole legal year.

The two-term appointments will be for the periods:

3rd October 2023 – 27th March 2024, and

10th April 2024 – 31st July 2024

The four-term appointments will be for the entire legal year, which is the period:

3rd October 2023 to 31st July 2024

Successful candidates will be expected to make themselves available for work during the relevant legal vacations (though not public holidays).

Assignment:

Candidates will also be asked their preference for the Court or Division to which they will be assigned, namely:

  • Chancery Division (Business and Property Courts)
  • Family Division
  • King’s Bench Division
  • Commercial Court (Business and Property Courts)
  • Technology and Construction Court (Business and Property Courts)
  • Administrative Court
  • KB Civil

Applicants will be free to select as many or as few of these specialisations as they wish. Candidates will be informed of the Court to which they have been assigned at the point at which they receive the offer. While every effort will be made to assign successful candidates to their Court or Division of choice, there may be occasions on which a degree of flexibility will be required, and judicial assistants will be asked to lend support to a judge in another part of the High Court.

Nature of the work:

Depending on the preferences expressed by applicants, it is intended that there will be JAs assigned to Judges of the High Court across the three Divisions of the Court as set out above.

JAs will be placed with a judge or judges working in their chosen specialisation or one of their chosen specialisations. JAs will assist the judge(s) to whom they are allocated, for example by carrying out research, marking up and summarising case documents and transcripts, summarising submissions, and discussing cases and hearings and providing general support for the judge(s) in the organisation of their work and hearings. The role will require candidates to manage involvement in multiple cases, some of them very large and involving extensive evidence. JAs will also be expected to aid their assigned judge(s) to tight deadlines.

The role of judicial assistant offers those in the early years of their professional practice a ringside view of the trial process and first instance decision-making from the perspective of the judge, for the most complex, high value and often high profile civil and family cases. The work will be based in London, where JAs will be expected to work in either the Rolls Building or the Royal Courts of Justice.

Suitability, skills, and qualifications:

Typically, the candidate will have graduated with an excellent degree (2:1 or above, subject not specified) and have practical experience in legal research and writing, and familiarity with civil procedure (for example, it is expected that candidates will be familiar with and capable of dealing with issues arising out of CPR). We would therefore also accept applications from qualified trademark and patent attorneys. Experience gained in the early years of practice – from either arm of the legal profession – is also desirable, though candidates with comparable early years’ experience (for example in academia) are also eligible to apply.

The essential criteria for this role are as follows:

  • You must have excellent intellectual and legal ability.
  • You must have practical research skills, being able to seek and analyse information to inform decisions based on the best available evidence.
  • You will be able to communicate complicated factual and legal arguments both orally and in writing, in a thoughtful and concise way.
  • You must be detail-focussed when carrying out research tasks and drafting factual narratives.

Successful candidates will therefore have demonstrated a capacity to work effectively at pace and make effective decisions. These will be assessed in application and interview. These criteria should be considered when writing the statement of suitability.

Candidates should understand that a judicial assistant works full-time. It is not possible to conduct professional practice or to devote significant time to external study while working as a judicial assistant.

Salary:

The salary offered to candidates employed by HMCTS (in 2022/2023) is the pro rata equivalent of an annual salary of £30,389, payable monthly in arrears.

Successful candidates in private practice may invoice for a monthly fee, reflecting the rate paid to employed candidates and an adjustment to reflect the fact that they will not benefit from NI and pension contributions.

A secondment fee equivalent to the rate paid to employed candidates will be paid to the employer of successful candidates who are already in employment.

Interview dates:

If you are selected, interviews will be expected to take place during the week beginning Monday, 24th April 2023.

Application submission opening date: 13 February 2023 at 9am

Application submission closing date: 24 March 2023, 11.55pm

Contact information:

If you require any further information about the role, or you would like to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form, please contact Alex Godfrey Strowbridge on +447563378992 (Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm), or email HighCourtJAScheme@judiciary.uk.

We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve.

Security clearance:

To apply for roles in the High Court you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why.

For the role of High Court Judicial Assistant, you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC requirements, you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the date of application.

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:

  1. You’ve been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
  2. You were studying abroad
  3. You were living overseas with parents

In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.

It is crucial to note there is no guarantee that with a referee you will be able to get CTC clearance. You will not be able to start your placement until CTC clearance is achieved. Should a candidate not pass their clearance by meeting the basic security threshold, their place on the programme may be offered to a reserve candidate or given the option of a deferral to the next year. Applicants are encouraged to apply only if they can meet the required security clearance threshold. For more information on CTC clearance, including the residency requirements to obtain this level of clearance, and for all information on appeals, please consult the gov.uk website. We reserve the right to revoke an offer of a place on the programme at any time throughout the clearance process.

Success Profiles:

Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.

We have provided detail of the assessment stages and areas being assessed to help you prepare for completing your application form, and to advise of what will be assessed following this, if you successfully pass the application stage.

Application form stage assessments:

Professional qualifications

Statement of suitability – word limit 500 words

Civil service behaviours: Making Effective Decisions – word limit 250 words

Also assessed: Organisational skills/time management – word limit 250 words

2 referees

Interview stage assessments (There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.)

Case study exercise (with 24 hours’ notice)

This vacancy is open to applications.