Oluwapelumi Amanda Adeola, Senior Member of the Valuation Tribunal for England
I am a solicitor by profession. I qualified in 2009 and specialise in private family matters such as divorce/separation, financial matters on divorce/separation, private law children matters etc.
I started to consider a career in the judiciary as the next step in my career progression when I had around 5 years’ experience since becoming legally qualified. I then applied and was successful in the Judicial Shadowing Scheme and shadowed some of my local judges. This gave me more of an insight into a judicial role. I also appear before the court regularly in the work that I do. Following my participation in several judicial outreach programmes and events together with the support of my mentors, I felt I was ready to make an application.
Diversity in the courts and tribunals is very important. The judiciary needs to reflect the people it represents. Whilst this is improving, we have more to do and this was a key reason that I wanted to apply. Appearing before various courts, I did not always see people who look like me sitting on the other side of the bench making significant decisions about the lives of my clients and I wanted to be a part of that change.
I found the selection process to be straightforward and well organised. The information I needed had been received beforehand and I was given all the support/reassurance that I needed on the assessment day itself.
Sitting as a Chair of the Valuation Tribunal is completely different to the area of law that I specialise in however, being able to learn a new area of law and develop my skills daily is invaluable. Applying the law and engaging with various people in the community in matters that concern them to be able to reach a fair outcome is also fulfilling.
I enjoy the variety of the role and with remote sitting, the fact that you can be dealing with cases all over the country and getting to understand the different factors that come into play in various parts of the country is fascinating. The training, support and regular drop in sessions also means that you are not alone; there is always someone there to support and guide you when you need it, or to explain any area that you need to understand further.