Targeted Outreach programme

Targeted Outreach programme

We continue to support improved outcomes for JAC target groups (women, ethnic minority people, disabled people, and solicitor candidates) and try to help candidates overcome some of the barriers to judicial appointment that we know exist for underrepresented groups. As of April 2023, the programme will also:

  • Formally expand its support of selection exercises to include all legal roles: this will assist candidates with a clearer path into the judiciary, expand support to CILEx members and reiterate the importance of varied pathways and fee-paid experience.
  • Review and streamline the support provided to Targeted Outreach candidates: by streamlining the process, the programme will be able to support and advise more judicial applicants.
  • Increase role of judicial guides: to support the expansion of selection exercises and candidates on the programme, we propose to vary the routes of support offered to candidates.

Our small 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. As the programme has been designed to complement existing diversity initiatives currently available to candidates, the team may recommend a partner programme where appropriate.

We will also continue to improve the evaluation of outcomes for candidates with regular data analysis, to track both the progression through exercise stages and recommendation rates of our target groups.

The Targeted Outreach and Research Team

The Targeted Outreach and Research Team leads 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 wide range of actions being undertaken by the Judicial Diversity Forum to achieve a more diverse and inclusive judiciary can be found here. 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.

Identifying candidates and how to apply

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

The team is made up of 3 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
  • The readiness to apply and likely impact in relation to successful outcomes in selection exercises
  • The timing of the chosen selection exercise

Candidates must have taken part in one or more of our recommended support schemes prior to applying for Targeted Outreach support.

  • The Judicial Work Shadowing scheme, run by Judicial Office, is a great opportunity for aspiring judges to have an insight into the role of a judge: Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme .
  • The Judicial Mentoring scheme, also run by Judicial Office, provides longer term support for candidates who are looking to learn about the judiciary and consider whether taking up judicial office is right for them, establish the skills and experience needed to support an application to judicial office and determine areas for development: Judicial Mentoring Scheme .
  • The Pre Application Judicial Education (PAJE) programme, run by The Law Society, is designed to support talented lawyers from under-represented groups to feel more equipped, confident and prepared when considering applying for a future judicial role: PAJE programme .

If you are planning to apply for judicial appointment and have a particular vacancy in mind, the Targeted Outreach team is ready to offer support in a confidential, friendly and safe space. It is the candidates responsibility to request Targeted Outreach support in good time ahead of their chosen selection exercise. We will not be able to accommodate requests for support at short notice.

For any questions or queries, please feel free to contact

Targeted Outreach application form

If you think you could be eligible for, and would benefit from this support you can self-refer using the application form below.

Please allow up to 28 working days to receive an outcome on your application. We receive high volumes of applications and we are not able to fast track any applications.

Targeted Outreach application form

Targeted Outreach application form

Click here.
Fill the form and send it directly via this link.

Download Targeted Outreach application form

Download the Word version

Fill the form on Word version and send it to

We strongly encourage candidates to be as specific as possible regarding their requested areas of development and support, identifying a specific target selection exercise and any other support courses already undertaken. After applying, a candidate will receive an outcome within 28 working days.


The Targeted Outreach programme is designed to help a candidate prepare for the JAC selection exercise process. Admission to the programme does not guarantee judicial appointment. Applicants who are offered a place on the Targeted Outreach programme will be offered a range of support, including individual tailored advice, support and signposting to resources on the JAC website. The JAC also works closely with alternative support schemes, which are recommended as part of the programme. Candidates may also be matched with a judicial guide.

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 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.

Judicial Guide scheme

The former Commissioners launched a guide scheme in January 2021 to provide additional support to candidates. To strengthen the Judicial Guide scheme, the team welcomed HHJ Nigel Lickley KC as Director of Training.

With thanks to Senior Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, as well as Judicial Office, the scheme has a number of Judicial volunteers guides to date. The team has commenced accredited training specifically to support candidates with the JAC selection exercise process in mind. Our accredited judicial guides are experienced in the way an application works, from application forms, to sift, to in-person (or remote) interview and role play or situational questions, to interpreting feedback. These are not the same skills as those of a mentor, who might explain courtcraft and judgment writing over a longer-term relationship.

The Targeted Outreach programme and the Judicial Guide scheme are designed to provide short-term, ad-hoc support to candidates, centred around intended application for judicial appointment. Following acceptance onto the programme, the Targeted Outreach and Research team, an assigned commissioner and/or judicial guide may provide support and advice on the candidate’s chosen JAC selection exercise application. Once the selection exercise is complete, owing to limited resources, the TOR team will re-assign commissioners and judicial guides (where relevant) to new candidates, to support as many applications as possible. Candidates will be asked to re-apply to the Targeted Outreach programme if they would like further support with another selection exercise.

For any questions or queries, please feel free to contact


The Targeted Outreach programme is continually looking at tools and documents to help with the candidate journey. Following early feedback from candidates applying to the programme, the team commissioned the Selection Exercise Guidance Pack. The document was trialled within the team and was made available to all candidates applying for Targeted Outreach support, along with all of our volunteer judicial guides. The Guidance Pack is a comprehensive document providing information on the JAC selection exercises, with top tips for success and generic anonymised examples of most stages of the selection exercise process.

Following the success of the Guidance Pack, a further resource was commissioned which contains information and case studies on pathways to the High Court ; helping candidates to understand the range of possible career routes, focussing on pathways from the tribunals and for solicitors. This was also piloted by the Targeted Outreach programme and launched in March 2022.

A suite of useful resources and tools to help candidates decide whether a judicial career is right for them, understand the types of roles that are available and what is looked for when making an application, can be found under the Becoming a Judge section on the JAC website, here.

The Targeted Outreach team has worked with the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary to demonstrate the various roles and jurisdictions within the Tribunals Judiciary. Please note that the diagram does not illustrate career progression. The diagram sets out the entry-level roles and those that are more senior. The Tribunals roles structure diagram can be found here.

Meet the team

  • Rt Hon Dame Anne Rafferty: recently retired CoA judge and former Vice chairman of the JAC and chairman of the Judicial College.

    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.

  • 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 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.

  • Nigel was born and educated in Basingstoke, Hampshire attending local primary and comprehensive schools, and Queen Mary’s Sixth Form College. He studied Law at University College London and was called to the Bar in 1983. Nigel has acted as prosecuting and defence counsel in a number of murder and manslaughter cases and in regulatory crime.

    He was appointed as an Assistant Recorder in 1998 and a Recorder in 2000. He was authorised to try civil cases in 2003 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 2006. Nigel was the Leader of the Western Circuit from 2010 to 2013 and was elected a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2013. In 2015 he was authorised to sit as a Recorder at the Central Criminal Court. He was Head of Chambers at 3PB. Nigel has been a senior circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey) since 2018. He was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018.

Case studies

  • “I am a solicitor and I heard about the Targeted Outreach programme through the Law Society, when I was looking for guidance on how to become a judge. I am extremely grateful for the help that I received through the programme – explaining to me the judicial options available to me, the potential career paths and the wider support available. In particular, through the programme I heard about a Tribunal vacancy and then received help with preparation for my interview. My application was ultimately successful, and I have now been appointed to the Tribunal. I very much appreciate this help with what will hopefully be the first step in my judicial career.”
  • “Having followed a fairly traditional route to the Bar, and spent 14 happy years in practice, in December 2020, I took on previously unforeseen caring responsibilities for a member of my family. However sympathetic my clerking was, it was no longer possible for me to combine my domestic commitments with fee paid judging and self-employed practice and so I left the Bar. At that stage, I had four different fee paid tickets and intended to make a full time living out of them. However, I was really concerned that, in feeling like I was going sideways, rather than following the usual barrister/recorder/salaried appointment path, I would struggle to be taken seriously as a judicial applicant, particularly as a member of at least two of the under-represented groups at the judiciary.

    When I saw the JAC Outreach advert, I emailed them explaining my personal and professional circumstances and asking if I could be considered as a candidate for the scheme. Within a couple of weeks, I had had the most uplifting and supportive phone call from my Commissioner, discussing my background and what the JAC could do to help me. We were off…

    My ambition has always to be a CJ, and I was sitting at the time as a family recorder, having had a historical practice in family, albeit not for the 8 years before my appointment and on a different circuit to that on which I practised and sat. My Commissioner matched me with a guide, who was tireless in her assistance and advice, and then, when this guide was snapped up by the JAC to interview in the CJ competition, I was matched with another guide, who had just been appointed as a DHCJ. Both of my guides were just fantastic. The first guide gave such pragmatic advice about my form that the finished result (which I think was on its fifty iteration) was almost unrecognisable from my first draft. It was punchy, packed with information and used every single word of the count effectively. The generosity of time and effort given to me was beyond that which I had hoped for.

    When the JAC asked my first guide to interview in the CJ competition, thus debarring her from helping me prep for the same, my Commissioner persuaded an alternative guide to step in and I couldn’t have been more grateful. He was so kind, geeing me up beautifully, helping dismiss my manifold neurosis, and giving me really fantastic hands-on hints and tips for the impending interview. I felt so much better prepared, and supported, than if I had been flying solo and again, the amount of time that he, as a hugely busy and successful silk, gave me, was just so kind.

    When I heard from the JAC that they were recommending me for appointment to the circuit bench, I could not have been more thrilled (or disbelieving!). The support I had from my guides was, I’m absolutely sure, key to my success on the first time of applying. They made me believe that I could actually do it, ensured that the work I poured into both form and interview, was focused and effective and the benefit of their wisdom was invaluable. I am incredibly grateful to them all for their help and support – I’ve already emailed them to plead for their input when I apply to the High Court… I think they think I’m joking. I’m definitely not!!”

  • “I was already a fee-paid judge and had reached the interview stage for two more senior judicial roles but had not been selected. I wanted to improve my performance and to better understand the process. I also found the data concerning the significantly lower success rates of diverse applicants in JAC competitions concerning.

    My Commissioner was approachable and encouraging and helped to demystify the applications process. The opportunity to ask questions and to receive guidance from a Commissioner was invaluable.

    Being part of the Targeted Outreach Programme assisted me in seeing myself as a potentially successful candidate. I was ultimately successful in my application.”

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