Choosing the best examples in your self-assessment

You are asked to give examples for each of the 5 or 6 competencies. The panel will compare your self-assessment against the competency framework to determine how well you meet the requirements of the post . Each competency area relates to a different aspect of the post.

Exercising judgement

Exercising judgement is about how you make sure your decisions are right, incisive, fair and legally sound. The panel will look for examples that demonstrate your independence of mind, your application of relevant law or procedure, your ability to deal fairly and your understanding of the implications of the decisions you make.

Relevant examples do not need to involve judgments made in a court or tribunal. You may, for example, have made decisions as part of a professional board, panel or committee. You might choose more than one example in order to demonstrate a breadth of situations and contexts (some complex, others highly sensitive, for example), but avoid simply listing judgments without providing any contextual information.

Stronger examples focus on decisions taken in complex, sensitive or highly-charged cases or situations, or where you were vindicated in taking a decision that was difficult, innovative or controversial. An example of a decision with far-reaching implications would allow you to demonstrate your ability to consider the impact of the decisions you make.

Prompts

These prompts may help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Exercising judgement. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe a situation where you made a decision which was unpopular or controversial, but which you knew was right. How did you make sure you made the right decision? How did you justify or explain your decision to others? What was the outcome of your decision?
  • Describe a situation where you needed to make a decision that you knew would have far-reaching consequences. How did you make sure you fully understood the consequences? What steps did you take to prepare yourself and others for the consequences? What was the outcome?

 

Assimilating and clarifying information

Assimilating and clarifying information is about how you digest new information, identify key issues and improve your understanding by seeking further information where needed.

Although reading and digesting large volumes of information is considered a fundamental skill in many legal and judicial roles, you should reflect on situations that were less straightforward. Were there conflicts between different sources of information that needed to be resolved? Was it necessary to draw on the expertise of others?

Stronger examples focus on situations where candidates have assimilated unusually large volumes of information, where the information was particularly technical or complex, or where time pressure was involved. It is good to make the nature and scale of such challenges clear in the example.

Prompts

These prompts may help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Assimilating and clarifying information. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe a situation where you needed to read and understand a large body of information at short notice. How did you identify the key facts? How did you involve others? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation where you were faced with multiple sources of information or evidence that were sharply conflicting. How did you balance the conflicting information? How did you resolve the situation?
  • Describe a situation where the information you were presented with was unusually complex or technical. What was particularly challenging about the information? How did you overcome the challenge? What was the outcome?

 

Possessing and building knowledge

Possessing and building knowledge is about how you develop and maintain an appropriate degree of expertise in relevant areas of law and practice. For leadership roles, it is also about building the knowledge and expertise of those around you. The panel will look for examples that demonstrate how you stay abreast of changes in law and their implications, how you identify gaps in your own knowledge and how you address these.

Stronger examples describe how a candidate has actively pursued learning and professional development through training, research or voluntary work. Examples of situations where a candidate has been required to research and rapidly develop expertise in a new subject are also relevant, particularly if the area of law was complex.

Prompts

These prompts are provided to help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Possessing and Building Knowledge. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe an action you have taken to address a gap in your knowledge. How did you identify the gap and how did you address it? How do you keep your knowledge up to date on an ongoing basis?
  • Describe a situation where you had to develop your knowledge of a subject relatively quickly. How did you identify the things you needed to learn? What tools and resources did you use? How did you involve others? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation where you have benefited from taking a novel or innovative approach to developing your knowledge. What did you do and what was the outcome?

 

Working and communicating with others

Working and communicating with others is about how you communicate, orally and in writing, and how you work effectively with colleagues, staff, and members of the public. The panel will look for evidence that demonstrates a fair, courteous, authoritative and constructive approach. You should be able to show that you are able to understand and deal fairly with people from a range of different backgrounds.

Candidates provide examples of situations where their ability to communicate clearly and calmly was tested, either because of linguistic, cultural or technical barriers, or because the situation was emotionally charged. These examples are relevant, particularly if you describe clearly how you overcame those barriers. Your examples may involve members of the public; but judges’ relationships with peers and court staff are also vital.

Stronger examples include situations where the candidate had to consider a number of different factors (such as the background and emotional state of others) before deciding on an appropriate style of communication to adopt.

Prompts

These prompts are provided to help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Working and Communicating with Others. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe a time when you successfully defused an emotionally charged situation. What factors and risks did you take account of when deciding how to approach the situation? How did your style of communication help you to achieve a successful outcome?
  • Describe a time when you fostered a successful working relationship to achieve a goal. What differences and conflicts did you overcome? How did you maintain the relationship in times of pressure? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a time when you needed to significantly alter your usual style or method of communication to overcome some cultural, technological or logistical barrier. How did you decide on the right approach? How did you involve others?

 

Managing work efficiently

Managing work efficiently is about how you plan, prioritise and manage a heavy workload, and how you make the best use of all the resources and support available to you to achieve this. The panel will look for evidence that demonstrates your approach to managing your workload: how you prioritise the right things, resolve unexpected problems in order to get things done, and make the best use of technology and the assistance of others.

You might find it helpful to reflect on situations in which the pressures were particularly challenging, or where your approach was particularly innovative.

Stronger examples highlight situations where a candidate has faced an unexpected issue that needed to be resolved quickly, or where conflicting priorities required an innovative solution and demonstrating how the resolution was successful.

Prompts

These prompts are provided to help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Managing Work Efficiently. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe a time when, under pressure, you took an innovative approach to managing your workload. How did you secure the cooperation of others? How did you make sure the quality of your work was not compromised?
  • Describe a situation where you have used technology to improve your own efficiency or that of others. What was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation where unforeseen circumstances put you at risk of failing to meet important commitments. How did you overcome the circumstances? Once you had dealt with the immediate difficulty, what steps did you take to get your work back on track?

 

Leadership

For some posts, the JAC looks for evidence of candidates’ competence in the area of leadership. Leadership can mean different things in different posts and you should look closely at the competency framework for the post you are applying for if asked to give evidence in this area.

Generally, leadership is about how you ensure the efficient and effective discharge of not only your own work but the work of others. This can be within one court or tribunal centre or across a much wider area.

Relevant examples might demonstrate your ability to understand the implications of strategic issues (such as courts and tribunals reform), your ability to lead by example, to inspire and provide direction and guidance to others, and to bring others with you in delivering changes to the way people work.

Prompts

These prompts are provided to help you to consider which examples from your own experience will be relevant to your self-assessment under Leadership. These are suggestions only; you do not need to address these questions in your self-assessment.

  • Describe a situation where you identified the need for a change (such as in working practices) and needed to gain the agreement and support of others. How did you achieve this? What conflicts did you have to overcome and how did you do it?
  • Describe a situation where you needed to improve the performance of others. How did you deal with those people? How did you make sure the improvement was sustainable?

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