Prepare before you apply

Our judicial selection exercises are competitive, so it is important that you prepare thoroughly in advance. We run a regular recruitment programme, so you can apply when you are ready.

Getting started

1.  First of all consider the different types of role available and decide which would suit you. 

2.  Then check forthcoming vacancies and review different types of roles to see what the selection process looks like (the process varies considerably between roles).

3. You should consider whether there is anything in your past conduct or present circumstances that could affect your application. Take a look at our good character guidance.

4. Start to prepare the written evidence you will need to apply, which will be outlined on the vacancy page and might include:

  • either a self-assessment using competency framework evidence, an eligibility statement for some non-legal roles, or a statement of suitability using the skills and abilities statement
  •  a CV

5. Consider who you will ask to complete your independent assessments.

6. The practice qualifying test has been designed as a practice tool to help you get familiar with the format, software and question style used in qualifying tests. More information can be found here and you can take the practice test here.

7. The following example role play has been designed as a practice to tool to help you get familiar with role plays and give you an indication of what to expect.  More information and the example role play can be found here

The selection process for most roles is competency based and competency frameworks will be used throughout the selection process. Make sure you have familiarised yourself with the competencies for the role, as you will be expected to demonstrate either that you possess these, or have the ability to acquire them quickly.

All the information about the written evidence you need to apply and competency frameworks will be on the relevant vacancy page. Be sure to read this page thoroughly to make sure you are working from the most up-to-date information, as well as reading our information on preparing written evidence.

For more in-depth advice on the selection process and tips on how to prepare – including examples of good and insufficient competency answers – take a look at our thorough guide on preparing for judicial selection exercises.


JAC opportunities to help you prepare 

Dry runs: Try out part of our selection process as a mock candidate

We use ‘dry-runs’ for selection exercise elements including online qualifying tests, role plays and interviews to check that the selection materials are fair and robust. Participating in a dry-run as a mock candidate is an excellent opportunity if you are considering applying for judicial appointment in the future to familiarise yourself with the selection process. You will be asked to provide your views on the delivery of the test, such as the test content and timings, and we will provide you will some feedback on your performance.

Volunteers should be able to meet the statutory eligibility for the post in question. The experience can help you decide if you’re ready to apply and to understand where you may need development.

If you take part in a dry run, you will not be able to apply for that live exercise. You will also be required to sign a confidentiality statement confirming that they will not disclose any part of the selection exercise process.

Participating in a dry run will not affect any future application – future applications will be considered completely on their own merits and no material used to make selection decisions indicates whether an individual has previously taken part in a dry run. 

You can sign up online with your preferences and the JAC will contact you when an opportunity arises: Dry Run volunteer

Targeted outreach for underrepresented groups

We are running a pilot programme of targeted outreach, providing tailored advice and guidance for JAC target groups (ethnic minority people, women, disabled candidates and solicitors) who are considering applying for key court and tribunal roles where application rates and/or progression outcomes for candidates from these pools have been historically poor. Find out more about the targeted outreach programme and how to apply to take part.

The Targeted Outreach team has collated guidance for people considering High Court vacancies. This guidance sets out the various pathways to the High Court, drawing upon the experience and advice of current judicial office holders. You can find the High Court Pathways guidance here.

Other activities that may help you succeed in your application

  1. Subscribe to Judging Your Future, the monthly vacancies newsletter
  2. Sign up for email alerts for individual vacancies to receive notifications about the launch dates
  3. Visit the Judiciary website to learn more about the work of judicial office holders
  4. Apply for one of Judicial Office’s work shadowing and mentoring schemes
  5. Observe courts or tribunals from the public gallery
  6. Spend time in, and research, the jurisdiction you intend to apply for
  7. Read feedback and evaluation reports from previous exercises such as Recorder, Deputy District Judge and Combined Qualifying Tests. You can read all reports here

Support available from our partners

In addition to the resources on our website, there is plenty of support available from our partners if you are considering applying to become a judge. For lawyers, we recommend exploring the resources and guidance available from your professional body. Find out more about opportunities available from our partners.



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