Example Roleplay

Roleplays are part of the suite of assessment tools that may be used alongside an interview at selection days for judicial roles. More information about selection days can be found here: Selection day – Judicial Appointments Commission 

Roleplays are usually based on a fictitious hearing which are designed to require similar skills to work in a court or tribunal. Candidates take on the judicial role and respond to a scenario with professional actors playing the other roles in a scenario. 

Roleplays assess how candidates deal with the situations that they may face and decisions they will make if they are appointed. Candidates are expected to demonstrate how well they meet the competency framework or skills and abilities, and whether they can maintain their performance under pressure. 

Roleplays can be delivered face-to-face or remotely with live actors or be in the form of a pre-recorded situational video assessment and are most commonly used for exercises involving first time entrants to the judiciary. 

We want to make sure that candidates with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions can participate fully and fairly in all JAC recruitment campaigns and at all stages of our selection processes. To ensure this, we consider all reasonable adjustment requests from disabled candidates and those with long term health conditions. More information on reasonable adjustments can be found here. 


This video is an example of a roleplay that could be used to assess candidates as part of JAC selection days.  It is four scenes long to give you an indication of what to expect. A role play at selection day would typically be longer than this (between 30-60 minutes) but there is no set format.  It’s worth noting that while situational video assessments and live role plays provide candidates with quite different experiences – including the context, setting and tone, every roleplay is designed to test similar competencies. 

The format and delivery of JAC assessment tools differ depending on the specific needs of each selection exercise. This roleplay video should be viewed as one example of what you might expect when undertaking a roleplay assessment, and you can use it as part of your preparation before making a judicial application.  

JAC selection tools are under continuous review, and you can expect to receive tailored information on pre-reading, timings and format ahead of your selection day. 

All JAC assessment tool and materials are robustly developed and reviewed to ensure they allow candidates broad opportunity to demonstrate their ability to meet the competencies or skills and abilities required.  While these are tailored to each individual exercise, competencies include:  

  • Exercising Judgement  
  • Possessing and Building Knowledge 
  • Assimilating and Clarifying Information  
  • Working and Communicating with Others  
  • Managing Work Efficiently  

Not all assessment tools test every competency.   

Skills and abilities-based role plays include:  

  • Legal and Judicial Skills 
  • Personal Qualities 
  • Working Effectively 

Guidance on the application process, including competencies can be found here Link: Guidance on the application process – Judicial Appointments Commission] 


Candidates undertaking roleplay assessments are usually provided with some pre-reading material ahead of selection days and/ or on the day of the assessment.  

For this example video, the pre-reading materials are: 


In this example roleplay you are cast in the role of a fee-paid judge, conducting a substantive hearing in the fictional jurisdiction of the ‘Local Authority Disputes Resolution Tribunal.’   

The tribunal follows the rules of the Equal Treatment Bench Book.   

You will be presented a series of four short video chapters with subtitles. Following each video, a prompt will appear containing a question for you to respond to. You can pause the video to consider your response but will not be able to interact with the actors as this roleplay is pre-recorded. At a JAC selection day, you would be required to immediately deliver your responses orally during the pauses in the video, and the scenes which are shown next will depend upon the specific response you gave. In this example roleplay there is no facility for you to record your answers. 

After each prompt question, un-pause the video and you will be directed to the next scene.  

As soon as you ‘enter’ the virtual hearing room, you should be acting as though you are a sitting judge.  

   Example roleplay context: Snow vs. Local Authority 

The issue you must decide is whether a young person, aged 15, can attend a residential summer camp. The camp is being held at the ‘Old Harry’ campsite in Dorset, some two hundred miles from West Midlands, the local authority (LA), running the camp.  

West Midlands LA has taken a decision that April Snow, a girl who has Down’s Syndrome, cannot attend the camp.  

The LA decision is appealable. The parties to the appeal are the appellant, Donna Snow (April’s mother) and the respondent is West Midlands LA, represented by their head of Youth Services, Dr Lynch.  

The substantive powers open to the Tribunal are to:  

  • Refuse to allow April to attend the camp  
  • Allow April to attend the camp  
  • Permit April to attend the camp with such conditions as the Tribunal sees fit.  

Two months ago, there was a case management hearing. You have the directions given by another judge.  

  • This hearing is to be listed as a remote video hearing as soon as practicable with a time estimate of no more than 30 minutes.  
  • Both parties are to file and serve statements of their respective cases no later than 7 days before the hearing.  
  • The evidence on the day is to be limited to the statements filed and the submissions of the parties.   


 Guidance on assessment of responses  

The evidence for each competency tested in roleplays is assessed as either outstanding, strong, sufficient or insufficient. Click here to view an outline of how candidate responses could be assessed in the Snow vs Local Authority roleplay. 

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