Master Pester, Rolls Building, Royal Courts of Justice

Being a judge is a great job. I was a barrister in private practice for over 20 years, before I applied to become a Chancery Master. It is very satisfying to decide legal cases, as well as being intellectually demanding and interesting.

What is often not appreciated is that since 2015 the jurisdiction of the Chancery Masters has greatly expanded. Our work is not only limited to procedural matters, although those too can also be very interesting and stimulating. We now have a trial jurisdiction, being able to hear trials lasting up to five days. I was appointed just over a year ago, and have already heard several trials, involving many different areas of law.

The range of our work is also vast. To give some examples, we hear cases relating to partnership disputes, unincorporated associations, civil fraud, intellectual property, real and personal property, wills and trusts, professional negligence, guarantees and loans, and business disputes more generally.

It is worth highlighting that for the upcoming competition no prior judicial experience is required. I had not previously sat in any judicial capacity before applying to be Chancery Master. I felt that, having spent a great deal of time in court as an advocate, I had at least some inkling of what was required to be a judge. I also had the opportunity to sit in court with various Chancery Masters. This was a very useful opportunity to gain further insight as to what the role requires.

Regarding the JAC selection process, it is very thorough and fair. I would urge anyone thinking of applying to really spend time preparing your application. It is not something which can be done quickly in a few hours. You really need to think about the competencies, and to select carefully your examples illustrating why it is that you possess the relevant competency. There is also a wealth of information on the JAC website, so it is worth spending time looking carefully at that.