Judicial Pathways for the Employed Bar: First Steps to a Judicial Career

Tuesday 28 February 2023

Discussion panel chaired by Heidi Stonecliffe KC with The Hon Mr Justice Leech, Venetia Jackson, Brie Stevens-Hoare KC and Charlotte Welsh.

Co-hosted by The Inner Temple Employed Bar Forum and the Bar Council’s Employed Barristers’ Committee

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Judicial Appointments Presentation

Outstanding Q&A Questions

  • Many thanks for a really helpful and clear session; when will the next DDJ round be please - 2024 or 2025?
    Currently the civil and family DDJ competition comes around annually so I would expect one in 2024 and 2025. DDJ(Mags) is every two years so the next one is likely to be 2025.


  • Is there any opportunity to get feedback on unsuccessful applications (for context, I have reached the Selection Day for DDJ this year but did so last year but was unsuccessful, so fear I will simply be repeating the same mistakes without feedback)
    As you will know general feedback is provided. On request near miss candidates can receive individualised feedback. Unfortunately we are not able to resource individualised feedback to everyone. Others report finding it useful to discuss the experience with other applicants who got through if you can find them.


  • Thank you. I feel encouraged by this Panel. I’m applying now for a DDJ role. I left practice as a family law barrister in 2004 and have been working as a lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights for 18 years. (If I do get appointed I would give up my job in Strasbourg). I guess I am rather an atypical candidate and I do wonder if I have a realistic chance of being appointed.
    If appointed for a fee paid job as long as there is no conflict of interest between the roles you can continue your work and take up the appointment.


  • I spent 12 years at the criminal bar as a prosecution barrister and 3 years in the GLS.  I’ve spent 12 years since not being employed but in that time run highly successful community campaigns re SEND and children and young people, I now chair a school governing board. Do I need to go back to paid legal work before I can apply?
    No. If you have the relevant post qualification experience you do not have to be in legal work/practice when applying.


  • I’m formerly a member of the self-employed bar, but, now in private practice (at a law firm) in the US. I would be able to visit with relative ease to sit part-time. However, would being overseas be considered a disfavourable factor?
    No. It would not be relevant to your application. As long as you have the relevant post qualification experience historically its fine if you are not in the UK now but would travel back.


  • Can a person who hasn't done Pupillage become a Tribunal Judge?
    Not for a legal role on the basis of your status as a barrister as you will not have the necessary post qualification experience. If you are a solicitor or a member of CILEX and have worked as such you could apply on the basis of that professional qualification. Otherwise you might be able to qualify for a non-legal role depending what else you have been doing and what expertise you have.