Independent assessments for candidates

Judicial roles

Independent assessments allow people who know you and your work to provide evidence of how you meet the standard required for effective performance in a judicial post. The competency framework or skills and abilities framework (which is set out in the vacancy information page) gives details of the required standard.

Non-legal roles

For some non-legal exercises, the term ‘references’ may still be in use. There is no difference in the way we use these assessments. The competency framework or skills and abilities framework (which is set out in the vacancy information page) gives details of the required standard. The guidance on this page applies to all vacancies.

How we use independent assessments

We use independent assessments:

  • as a source of evidence to assess the merit of candidates
  • to verify candidates are of good character
  • to identify issues to explore further during selection

Independent assessments are also available to our Selection and Character Committee before it makes recommendations for appointment.

You need to give details of two assessors on your application form. It is your responsibility to nominate assessors who know you well, or for judicial roles know your work well, and can give a first-hand account of your abilities. Remember it is not about who you know – it is about the quality of the assessment.

Please let your Independent Assessors know you have given their details to us and remind them of recent work they have seen or how they know you so they are prepared for us contacting them.

Who to choose

It is important that you choose the right assessor.

  • if you are a salaried judicial office holder, you need two judicial assessors
  • if you are a professional with one or more fee-paid judicial roles, you need one professional and one judicial assessor; the judicial assessor should be the judge who can provide examples most relevant to the role for which you are applying
  • if you do not hold judicial office and you are employed, you will usually need two professional assessors, or for some exercises you can provide one professional and one personal assessor

For judicial roles ideally you should choose someone from your current employment or who has knowledge of your work in a judicial or professional capacity. If you work or practice independently, you may wish to choose someone (such as a judge) who has seen you practice and can provide good examples of your skills in relation to the required competencies.

A professional assessor could be:

  • a senior partner or head of chambers
  • a judicial office holder who can give examples of your professional work
  • a client (including a local authority official) or a magistrate
  • a line manager if you are from a non-legal background; if there is no line manager, then a current or former colleague or client

A judicial assessor could be:

  • the senior judge of the court, jurisdiction or circuit where you sit most often
  • the Senior President or Lord President (Scotland) if you are a Chamber/Tribunal President
  • the Lord Justice Clerk or Sheriff Principal if you are a Sheriff (Scotland only)
  • your appraising judge if you sit on a tribunal

If you are unable to provide one of the above, consider another judge who has first-hand knowledge of your work. If you are unable to provide any judicial assessor, please contact us giving your reasons writing.

If you are applying for a non-legal role you should choose assessors who know you well and who can give clear examples of your abilities.

A personal assessor could be:

  • a former colleague, manager or client who is familiar with the way you work
  • someone for whom you do voluntary work

If you have been on maternity leave or a career break, there is no time limit on how recently you have worked with your assessor, although where possible within the last two years is recommended so they can provide recent examples.

Do not nominate:

  • another individual who is applying for a role in the same exercise
  • a JAC commissioner
  • a relative (even if you work or have worked with them in a professional capacity)

If you are still unsure who to choose, please contact us.

Remember to let your assessors know that you have nominated them.

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