Independent Assessments for Candidates

Judicial roles

Independent assessments allow people who know you and your work to provide specific examples which demonstrate that 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

There is no difference in the way we use independent assessments for non-legal exercises. 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 identify issues to explore further during the selection process
  • to verify candidates are of good character

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 and your work well and can give a first-hand account of your abilities.

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
  • 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.

Rather than choosing two very similar assessors, think about two assessors whose assessments will complement each other, and together provide a fuller picture.

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:

  • your leadership judge or 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 have had an appraisal recently

A judicial assessor should be able to provide an assessment of your performance in your judicial role, rather than as an advocate.

When applying for a salaried exercise, we recommend that if you are a judicial office holder, you nominate your leadership judge as a judicial assessor. If your leadership judge is not familiar with your work, you can provide them with materials that will assist them with writing their independent assessment, for example recent judgments/decisions, recent appraisals, recent publications, and anything else you may think is relevant.

Only, if you are unable to provide a judicial assessor as outlined above, you may 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 in writing.

If you are applying for a non-legal role, you should choose assessors who know you and your work well and can give clear examples of your abilities. Ideally you should provide details of two professional assessors, though for some exercises there is the option to provide details of one professional and one personal assessor.

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.

When choosing your assessor, please do not nominate:

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

Please check the exercise information page before applying to see further details on who not to nominate.

If you are still unsure who to choose as your independent assessors, please contact us.

Speaking to your independent assessors

As independent assessments play an important part in the selection process by contributing to the overall assessment of your application, it is imperative that we have your assessments on time so they can be considered accordingly. To avoid any delays in us receiving your assessments, please let your independent assessors know in advance that you have given their details to us, and the date we will be sending the requests and the deadline for submission.

It is also perfectly acceptable to speak to your assessors about writing their assessment. You could tell them that specific examples help more than assertions and remind them of your work and/or particular cases or events they could write about, if that helps them, and advise them to read our guidance for assessors.

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