Dear Judicial Appointments Commission,

What qualifications must fee paid deputy district judges who sit in the county court have before they can act in that role?

Are solicitors required to be fully qualified and must they hold a practising certificate when they apply to JAC and must this certificate be valid and updated whilst acting as a deputy district judge.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Potter

FOIA, Judicial Appointments Commission

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email of 15th September in respect of your Freedom of Information request.

The Judicial Appointments Commission has a statutory duty under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to provide a response to Freedom of Information requests within 20 working days. You should therefore receive a full response by 11th October 2019.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further assistance.


Ian Thomson
Head of Corporate Services
Judicial Appointments Commission
Clive House
5th Floor , 70 Petty France,
London, SW1H 9EX
Tel 020 3334 5899 [mobile number]

If you receive this email late at night or early in the morning or at a weekend, it means I am working flexibly.
In order for me to complete my work I have to work flexibily but if you would prefer to receive emails during core working hours only, please let me know. | LinkedIn | Twitter
The independent Judicial Appointments Commission selects candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition

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FOIA, Judicial Appointments Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Potter,

Further to your original email of 15 September please find attached response to your FOIA request.

Kind regards,

Steven Ball

Corporate Services
Judicial Appointments Commission | 5th Floor, Clive House, 70 Petty France, LONDON, SW1H 9EX |
Tel 020 3334 0289 | LinkedIn | Twitter

The independent Judicial Appointments Commission selects candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition.

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Dear FOIA,

Thank you for the info but I am a tad confused concerning the retirement age it says at the very bottom of the jurisdiction link below that a Deputy District Judge must retire at 65 this does not seem to match the info in the links you have given me, so could you please provide me with some clarification as you whether the link I have found is correct, many thanks.

Civil justice in England and Wales

Civil justice in England and Wales is mainly dealt with in the county courts and, in the case of more substantial or complex cases, the High Court. The jurisdiction covers a very wide range – from quite small or simple claims, for example damaged goods or recovery of debt, to large claims between multi-national companies.

Civil cases involve hearings in open court which the public may attend, hearings in the judge’s private room from which the public are excluded, and matters decided by the judge in private but on the basis of the papers alone.

Most civil disputes do not end up in court, and those that do often don’t go to a full trial. Many are dealt with through mediation (a process taking place outside a court to resolve a dispute) or by using established complaints procedures. But where a case does go through the courts, the aim is to make it as simple as possible. For smaller claims there is a speedy and cheap way of resolving disputes – through the small claims court.

Judges in the civil jurisdiction do not have the power to imprison a losing party. Ordinarily, but not always, they award financial ‘damages’ to the successful party, the size of which depends on the circumstances of the claim.

A judge hearing a civil case

Before trying a civil case the judge reads the relevant case papers and becomes familiar with their details.

The vast majority of civil cases tried in court do not have a jury (libel and slander trials are the main exceptions) and the judge hears them on his or her own, deciding them by finding facts, applying the relevant law to them – and there may be considerable argument about what that law actually is – and then giving a reasoned judgment.

Judges also play an active role in managing civil cases once they have started, helping to ensure they proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This includes:

encouraging the parties to co-operate with each other in the conduct of the case;
helping the parties to settle the case;
encouraging the parties to use an alternative dispute resolution procedure if appropriate; and
controlling the progress of the case.
Occasionally, the parties will have agreed the relevant facts and it will not be necessary for the judge to hear any live evidence. The issues may concern the law to be applied or the terms of the judgment to be given. But more often than not, written and live evidence will be given by the parties and their witnesses and the live witnesses may be cross-examined. The judge ensures that all parties involved are given the opportunity to have their case presented and considered as fully and fairly as possible. During the case the judge will ask questions on any point he or she feels needs clarification. The judge also decides on all matters of procedure which may arise during a hearing.


Once the judge has heard the evidence from all parties involved and any submissions (representations) they wish to put forward, he or she delivers judgment. This may be immediately, or if the case is complicated, at a later date.

Civil judges do have the power to punish parties if, for example, they are in contempt of court but, generally, civil cases do not involve the imposition of any punishment.

If the judge decides that the claimant is entitled to damages, he or she will have to go on to decide the amount. Or the claimant may have asked for an injunction – for example, to forbid the defendant from making excessive noise by playing the drums in the flat upstairs in the early hours of the morning, or a declaration – an order specifying the precise boundary between two properties about which the parties had never been able to agree. The task of the judge to is to decide on what is the appropriate remedy, if any, and on the precise terms of it.


When the judgment in the case has been delivered, the judge must deal with the cost of the case. This may include the fees of any lawyers, court fees paid out by the parties, fees of expert witnesses, allowances that may be allowed to litigants who have acted in person (without lawyers), earnings lost and travelling and other expenses incurred by the parties and their witnesses. The general rule is that the unsuccessful party will have to pay the successful party’s costs but the judge has a wide discretion to depart from this rule. The judge’s decision on this part of the case will be very important to the parties. He or she may decide, for example, that the unsuccessful party should pay only a proportion of the successful party’s costs or that each party should bear their own costs. The judge may hear representations about this at the end of the case.

Court of Appeal – Civil Division

The Civil Division of the Court of Appeal hears appeals from all Divisions of the High Court and, in some instances from the County Courts and certain tribunals. The Civil Division is presided over by the Master of the Rolls. Bringing an appeal is subject to obtaining ‘permission’, which may be granted by the court below or, more usually, by the Court of Appeal itself. Applications for permission to appeal are commonly determined by a single Lord Justice, full appeals by two or three judges. The Civil Division of the Court Appeal also deals with family cases.

High Court – Queen’s Bench Division – Civil

The President of the Queen’s Bench Division presides over that Division, which includes both its criminal and civil jurisdiction. Judges who sit in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court deal with ‘common law’ business i.e. actions relating to contract except those specifically allocated to the Chancery Division, and civil wrongs (known as tort). They also hear more specialist matters, such as applications for judicial review.

Examples of contract cases dealt with by Queen’s Bench Division judges are failure to pay for goods and service and breach of contract.

Judges who sit in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court deal with actions relating to various different types of tort. These include:

Wrongs against the person e.g. defamation of character and libel
Wrongs against property e.g. trespass
Wrongs which may be against people or property – e.g. negligence or nuisance.
They also deal with matters that involve both contract and tort, such as personal injury cases which show negligence and breach of a contractual duty of care. Other cases dealt with may be crimes as well as torts, such as assault.

The Queen’s Bench Division also contains:

The Commercial Court
The Admiralty Courts; and administers
The Technology and Construction Court
High Court judges who sit in these courts hear cases involving prolonged examination of technical issues, for example, construction disputes.

Judges of The Queen’s Bench Division also sit in the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

High Court – Chancery Division

The Chancery Division is a Division of the High Court of Justice. The Division is headed by the Chancellor of the High Court, the Right Honourable Sir Terence Etherton, and is based at the Rolls Building (off Chancery Lane/Fetter Lane).

At the Rolls Building in London, there are currently eighteen High Court Judges attached to the Chancery Division, in addition to the Chancellor of the High Court. The Enterprise Judge, Head of the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court, is also considered a member of the Division. In addition, there are six judges referred to as Chancery Masters (one of whom is the Chief Master) and five judges referred to as Bankruptcy Registrars (one of whom is the Chief Registrar).

The areas of work that the Chancery Division deals with are:

Business and property related disputes
Competition cases
Patents claims
Other Intellectual Property claims, such as Trademarks or Design
Companies work
Insolvency claims, both personal and corporate
Trust claims
Contentious probate claims
General Chancery work, including trade and industry disputes and the enforcement of mortgages
The Division includes:

The Bankruptcy and Companies Court
The Patents Court
Chancery Chambers (Masters)
The Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court
The Central London County Court also has a Chancery list.

Chancery sittings outside London

The following district registries deal with Chancery business outside London:

The heading of a Chancery County Court Claim should be marked “Chancery Business”.

Regions and Supervising Judges

Chancery Supervising Judges are appointed to handle Chancery work outside London according to region.

South East and London – Chancellor of the High Court
Midlands – Mr Justice Newey
North East – Mr Justice Norris (Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine)
North West – Mr Justice Norris (Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine)
South West – Mr. Justice Newey
Wales – Mr. Justice Newey
For more information see:

Chancery Guide 2013
Published October 2013

Interim Applications in the Chancery Division: A Guide for Litigants in Person
Published 30 July 2013

Circuit Judges – Civil

Circuit judges may deal solely with civil, family, criminal work, or divide their time between the three. Circuit judges deal with a variety of civil and family cases and may specialise in particular areas of law, for example, commercial. Circuit judges generally hear claims worth over £15,000 or those involving greater complexity or importance.

Recorders – Civil

Recorders Civil sit as fee-paid judges in county courts. Some Recorders Civil may also be authorised to deputise for specialist civil circuit judges – for example in the Chancery Division, the Mercantile Court and the Technology and Construction Court.

The statutory jurisdiction of a Recorder is in general identical to that of a circuit judge, although the usual practice is that Recorders do not hear appeals from district judges. The jurisdiction covers almost the whole field of civil law and is mostly concurrent with that of the High Court. In addition, a number of statutes confer exclusive jurisdiction on the county courts.

Cases listed before a Recorder Civil may include disputes in the fields of housing, commercial landlord and tenant, contract, tort, personal injury or appeals from decisions of local authorities in respect of their exercise of their function regarding homelessness, (Part VII of the Housing Act 1996).

District Judge

District judges are full-time judges who deal with the majority of cases in the county courts of England and Wales.

Their work involves: dealing with civil disputes such as personal injury cases, claims for damages and injunctions; possession proceedings against mortgage borrowers and property tenants, and claims for reasonable provision out of the estates of deceased persons. Many district judges will also deal with bankruptcy petitions, as well as the winding up of insolvent companies.

Deputy District Judges

A deputy district judge is appointed to sit in the county court or in a High Court District Registry to case manage and try civil, family, costs, enforcement and insolvency cases. They try small claims and fast track cases, family ancillary relief hearings, hear interim applications and make procedural directions preparing cases for trial. Their jurisdiction is broadly similar to that of a full time district judge although they have limited authority to deal with family cases involving children.

It is a fee-paid post open to any fully qualified and currently practising solicitor or barrister with at least seven years’ experience. There is no minimum age limit for applying although a deputy must retire at 65.

Yours sincerely,

Harry Potter

FOIA, Judicial Appointments Commission

Dear Mr Potter,

Thank you for your further email.

The reasonable length of service information contained in our information page is provided by the vacancy requestor, which is HM Courts & Tribunal Service. However, to assist you in terms of your retirement age query, the statutory judicial retirement age is 70, although in certain circumstances this can be extended to 72 as per Schedule 7 Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. It was once the case that Deputy District Judges retired at 65, but this policy changed in 2007.

I am unable to comment on the link you have found, it may be out of date, and can therefore only suggest you contact it's author.

Kind regards,

Steven Ball

Corporate Services
Judicial Appointments Commission | 5th Floor, Clive House, 70 Petty France, LONDON, SW1H 9EX | Tel 020 3334 0289 | LinkedIn | Twitter

The independent Judicial Appointments Commission selects candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition.

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Dear FOIA,

Thank you for confirming that the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website has been giving out wrong information since 2007, is this right and that no deputy district judges have to reiire at 65, is this right?

It does seem strange that they would put misleading information up onto a public platform about civil jurisdiction of deputy district judges having to retire by 65 if they do not have to .

Or is it only deputy district judges that sit in criminal courts that don't have to retire at 65?

Yours sincerely,

Harry Potter

FOIA, Judicial Appointments Commission

Dear Mr Potter,

I would refer you to my previous response, in which I advised I am unable to comment on the website you quoted.

Again, I would direct you to my previous response which answered your query. I hope you understand I am unable to answer a question which concerns another organisation, and can only suggest that you contact the administrator of the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.

Kind regards,

Steven Ball

Corporate Services
Judicial Appointments Commission | 5th Floor, Clive House, 70 Petty France, LONDON, SW1H 9EX | Tel 020 3334 0289 | LinkedIn | Twitter

The independent Judicial Appointments Commission selects candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition.

show quoted sections