Targeted Outreach and Research Team

The Targeted Outreach and Research Team has been set up to lead three initiatives which specifically respond to the need to improve judicial diversity. The team was set up in September 2020, following the publication of a combined statistical report on this topic by the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF).

The report provided a picture that is now being used, along with assessments and evaluation, to take action that leads to positive change. The work of the Targeted Outreach and Research Team is part of the JAC’s ongoing work to contribute to this positive change.

These three initiatives are in addition to our ongoing extensive programme of diversity actions including outreach and support to potential applicants, measures to ensure fair and non-discriminatory selection processes, and diversity data collection and analysis.

What the team does

The Targeted Outreach and Research Team focusses on three things:

  • running a pilot programme of targeted outreach for key court and tribunal roles, in which we identify and work with specific eligible candidates from under-represented target groups
  • overseeing research, analysis and stakeholder engagement on measures used successfully by other common law jurisdictions to improve judicial diversity – to better understand how these might be used in England and Wales
  • ensuring we consistently convene ethnically diverse selection panels

Our International Research project was launched in May 2021 and is due to report later in the year.

Targeted outreach

The pilot programme of targeted outreach is designed to support our statutory duty to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection.

The JDF combined statistical report 2021, published in July, indicates that more work is needed to accelerate change. 

We aim to support improved outcomes for JAC target groups (ethnic minorities, women, disabled and solicitor candidates) in recruitment for key court and tribunal roles. We want to try and help candidates overcome some of the barriers to judicial appointment that we know exist for underrepresented groups.

Our small, senior team, separate from selection exercise assessments and decisions, engages with candidates from these under-represented groups. Candidates will benefit from tailored advice, guidance and access to wider support. The programme has been designed to complement existing diversity initiatives currently available to candidates, so the team may recommend a partner programme where appropriate.   

The programme focusses specifically on senior salaried roles, and their main fee-paid pipelines, that remain particularly underrepresented for ethnic minority candidates: namely High Court; Deputy High Court; Circuit Judge; Recorder and Upper Tribunal. Priority is given to the group(s) with lowest outcomes and these candidates will be encouraged to apply when they are ready, in line with our outreach strategy.


The pilot programme began in September 2020 and the work is prioritised by the timing of upcoming recruitment exercises that are in scope.

The application window opened on 9 November 2020, with applications being reviewed on a continual, rolling basis.

The pilot is being funded by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and runs for 2 years (2 exercise programme cycles) with a light touch review after 12 months by the JAC and MoJ.

How we identify candidates

The Targeted Outreach and Research team are using three key workstreams to identify potential candidates. These methods are:

  • identifying near-miss candidates from previous selection exercises, as we know not everyone is successful first time around in judicial applications
  • using insights on the candidate pool from the programme team, as well as nominations from external stakeholders
  • encouraging candidates to self-refer through the candidate application form below

How to apply

If you are planning to apply for judicial appointment and have a particular vacancy in mind, the Targeted Outreach and Research team is ready to offer support in a confidential, friendly and safe space.

If you think you could be eligible for, and would benefit from, this support you can self-refer using the self-referral application form. Should you have any difficulties filling out the online form, please feel free to download the Word version. Once completed, please return to the Targeted Outreach and Research team at

The form allows candidates who might not have previously considered applying for key targeted roles (namely High Court; Deputy High Court; Circuit Judge; Recorder and Upper Tribunal) as well as near-miss candidates to contact us directly to ask for tailored advice, support and/or further assistance. We strongly encourage candidates to be as specific as possible regarding their requested areas of development and/or support, identifying a target role/vacancy. After applying, a candidate will receive an outcome within 28 days.

The team is made up of three former JAC Commissioners working part-time. Due to this limited capacity, we have developed a prioritisation approach to make sure those candidates who would most benefit from this support get the assistance they need. The prioritisation is based on:

  • underrepresented groups – all ethnic minority lawyers, all women lawyers, all lawyers with disabilities and/or solicitors and chartered legal executives (both with a litigation and non-litigation background) and those from a non-litigation background including academic and non-practising barristers
  • likely impact in relation to successful outcomes in our key targeted exercises in the 2-year cycle (High Court; Deputy High Court; Circuit Judge; Recorder and Upper Tribunal)
  • the timing of upcoming exercises


Applicants who are offered a place on the programme, will be offered tailored advice and support in preparing for judicial appointment. This could include guidance and support in accessing judicial mentoring and coaching programmes and suitable sitting experience, support from a judicial guide, as well as advice and support on confidence- building and overcoming imposter syndrome.

The Targeted Outreach programme is designed to provide short-term, ad-hoc support to candidates on the scheme, centred around intended application for judicial appointment. Following acceptance onto the programme, the assigned commissioner will provide support and advice on the candidate’s chosen JAC selection exercise application. Once the selection exercise is complete, owing to limited resources, we will re-assign commissioners and judicial guides (where relevant) to new candidates, to support as many applications as possible.

Should you wish to return to the Targeted Outreach programme, we ask candidates to re-apply with a new candidate application form, specifying the selection exercise(s) of choice and any new or additional information, which will help your application.

While we are not able to guarantee that everyone who contacts us will be able to take part in this programme, all candidates who contact the pilot team will receive advice on preparing for a judicial appointment and information on complimentary support programmes run by other JDF partners, including the PAJE programme.

Approach to remote working

In light of the current circumstances of COVID-19, there may be a mixture of virtual and face-to-face opportunities to meet with the team, in accordance with the most recent government guidance, commissioner availability and personal circumstances.

Integrity and data protection

The continued integrity of the independent, fair, open and merit-based process on which the JAC works will be assured by a strictly enforced ‘information barrier’ between the activities of the targeted outreach pilot team, and the ongoing selection process and decisions of the Commission’s Selection and Character Committee. Applicants offered a place on the scheme should ensure that this confidential information is not disclosed to the JAC when applying for selection exercise vacancies.

Information about potential candidates engaged in this pilot programme will not generally be available to anyone outside of the pilot team. The only exception to this is where a potential candidate agrees to be put in touch with a serving judge as part of the judicial guide programme, in which case relevant information about the candidate will be shared with the judge. The pilot team will be accountable to the JAC Chief Executive and Commission Board through regular reporting with anonymised and aggregated information on their activities and impact. Necessary data handling protocols and technical restrictions on data access have been introduced.

If you have any queries, please contact us.

Meet the team

Lady Justice Anne Rafferty

Dame Anne Rafferty (until July 2020 the Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty) was Vice Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission 2017 – 2020.

She was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011 and a High Court judge (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2000. She was made a Recorder in 1991, and a deputy High Court judge in 1996. She was Chairman of the Judicial College 2014- 2020 and Deputy Chairman (de facto Chairman) of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee 2012 to 2017.

She began her professional career as a barrister in 1973 and practised in criminal law. She was the first woman to chair the Criminal Bar Association, and the first woman Presiding Judge on the SE Circuit. In 2015 she was made Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.

HH Phillip Sycamore CBE

His Honour Phillip Sycamore was appointed as a senior judicial member of the Judicial Appointments Commission on 9 June 2014 and was reappointed for a further 3 years from 8 June 2017.

Phillip was appointed a Circuit judge in 2001 and in 2008 became the Chamber President of the First-tier Tribunal (Health Education and Social Care Chamber), a Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and a Deputy High Court Judge. He was Deputy Vice President of Tribunals until he retired from full time judicial office in March 2020. He was previously the liaison judge for the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales from 1997 to 1998 and a Recorder from 1999 to 2001.

Martin Forde KC

 Martin Forde KC has a practice which covers all aspects of Health Law. He appears regularly in all the Regulatory and Disciplinary tribunals predominantly for practitioners including doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and optometrists. He is currently acting as the Independent Advisor to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

In 2020, the Powerlist named Martin as one of the most influential people for their impact on Politics, Law & Religion. He was listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 lawyers of 2019. In June 2020, Counsel Magazine interviewed Martin about Windrush, citizenship and diversity at the Bar as their front cover feature (here).

He has acted for the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council but almost exclusively represents medical practitioners before the medical and veterinary tribunals. He has appeared in a number of major cases in the Privy Council and has been involved in medical related judicial review hearings in the Administrative Court as well as judicial review hearings involving mental health and immigration issues.

His clinical negligence and personal injury practice is exclusively undertaken in the High Court involving injuries of maximum severity.

His experience of Inquests is extensive particularly in cases involving a mental health element.

He has appeared on many occasions in the Employment Tribunal acting for NHS Trusts and medical practitioners. He has appeared in First and Upper Tribunal Performer’s List proceedings, internal Trust and PCT hearings and has an extensive FHSAA practice.

He has been recognised as a band 1 practitioner by Chambers & Partners since 2010.

JAC Head of Unit: Nikita Sharma


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