s9(4) Deputy High Court Judge Competition 2020

**** 8 September 2020 ****

Apologies am too busy to draft a full update but the delayed s9(4) finally launches today. 35 vacancies across the 3 divisions but with a wish list:  “We welcome applications from those with specialisms in commercial law, clinical negligence, planning law, technology and construction and media and communications as well as those considered more generalist. In addition, the Chancellor of the High Court has indicated that within the Chancery Division, applications are especially welcome from candidates with expertise in patents work.”

Deadline is 13:00 on Tuesday 29/01 – 1500 word statement and 500 words about your expertise. Given this competition was delayed from September last year and is now potentially seen as the main pipeline to the High Court Bench, this is likely to be a very competitive competition.  JAC s9(4) competition details here.

Any questions or an initial chat > 07969997335 E:

NB no telephone assessment as not part of the short-listing process this time.

***** 15 January 2019 *****

The s9(4) competition launches 15/01/19 with a deadline for applications of 13:00 on 05/02/19. There are up to 20 vacancies. Same as s9(1) (for those who already sit) candidates will initially be short-listed using a “paper sift” – however, unlike most other JAC competitions the new simplified three High Court skills and abilities will be used. You will have to evidence your in a <1500 word Statement of Suitability : 1. Legal and judicial skills; 2. Personal qualities 3. Working.  Whereas the s9(1) candidates had to evidence them in <400 words for each one. This s9(4) seems like a move back to how competitions were run many years ago.

s9(4) candidates will require two assessors (referees in old parlance) and also have the additional hurdle of a telephone assessment in early May.

Below you can see how these Deputy High Court Judge competitions have evolved over recent years together with links to some videos and advice you may find helpful. If you can’t find what you are looking for or have any questions please >

T: 07969997335 or E:

***** 20 November 2018 *****

35 candidates sought as judges of the High Court s9(1) > launches 27/11 deadline 18/12.

“Shortlisting will be by paper sift, based on the evidence provided in the statements of suitability, as provided by both the candidate and their leadership judge.” 


You can see from this blog how these competitions have evolved over the recent years, but essentially the core elements are the same. You should find all you need to know about this competition and some tips about how to become a Deputy High Court Judge. If you are unsure about anything please do contact me and I’ll point you in the right direction

“Extremely helpful. In fact, invaluable. Much appreciated.”

DHCJ Candidate Feedback

16 November 2016

Last  year’s successful candidates just announced  here – why the secrecy?!!

***** UPDATE 15 Noveber 2016*****

This competition launched today deadline for applications 13:00 Tuesday 29 November 2016.

In many ways this looks like the easiest and most straight forward competition that the JAC has run for a fee paid role. But they are looking for top calibre, exceptional candidates.  “Those appointed to sit as Deputy High Court Judges will be expected to undertake work which would otherwise be undertaken by salaried High Court Judges.” This is their 3rd such DHCJ competition and like the first is hoping to attract applicants who do not currently sit.

At A Glance

  • Four year fixed term basis
  • Shortlisting from 2 competencies 250 words to demonstrate: ‘Exercising Judgement’ and ‘Assimilating and Clarifying Information’.  NB in addition,  within 500 words describing a significant piece of  recent work.
  • Telephone Assessment
  • Submission of the evidence to demonstrate the further three competencies and your independent assessors (referees) will be asked for their assessments.
  • Selection Day: role play and competency based interview

27/10/16 JAC shared a podcast by DHCJ Peter Marquand which is well work listening to here.

First Step

Approach your assessors and start drafting evidence of the 2 shortlisting competencies.

Below are some details about the two most recent DHCJ competitions with some tips and advice.

***5 January 2016***

Now launched full details DHCJ Section 9(1) Authority

As well as the anticipated competencies, candidates will need to demonstrate evidence of their written work:

“An authorised judge is expected to demonstrate a high ability to acquire knowledge, especially of highly complex subject matter. Please describe how you have dealt with a recent, highly complex piece of work in a maximum of 500 words. This can be a judgment, hearing, inquiry or anything else that you consider appropriate. In your description please cover the two key areas: 1. How it demonstrates your ability to acquire knowledge. 2 Why you consider this piece of work to be highly complex.” 

*** UPDATED 1 October***

All the clients I have coached with their applications were invited for the telephone shortlisting and are being invited to the selection days on 20-23 October. Delighted to have been working with these excellent candidates.


A welcome departure by the Judicial Appointments Commission a major competition for a fee paid post without a qualifying test. With only 14 vacancies and no recent Civil Recorder positions competition for the role of Deputy High Court Judge will probably be the most competitive the JAC has ever had to run? The competencies have been published and candidates should already have started preparing. This blog is written for those who have and are struggling, would like a different perspective or would just welcome some advice and tips to get going.

The competition closes at noon on 30 July 2015 and from my years of experience to develop a strong application takes most candidates about 16 hours of focused work – it is harder than it looks! In the most recent Circuit Judge (980) competition, which was also a “paper sift”,  all the candidates I worked with were invited to interviews.  Feedback from a couple of candidates from this spring: “I was really grateful to have had your expert help and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you.”  “Worth your weight in gold as they say!”

Demonstrating Your Competencies

The short video above may be of some help to you or this simple guidance if you can’t spare 5 minutes to watch it.

Additional DHCJ Questions

1. “Evidence of exceptionality(?) ability.

Successful candidates must be of exceptional ability and must be able to deal with complex points or areas of law. Please provide one or two examples to demonstrate this ability. The panel would prefer that you explain the specifics of your involvement and how you met your objectives and you should refrain from listing cases. Please note that you are restricted to 500 words.

2. Why do you think your skills are particularly suited to this (or these) Divisions? Please explain in maximum of 250 words.”



You must have selected and gained approval from your referees:

1. Ask ideally face to face, with an open question whether they will support your application;

2. Make sure, especially if they are likely to be a popular referee, that you are their #1 candidate otherwise consider asking some else;

3. Be sure they are in a position to comment on and give evidence of their experience of how you have demonstrated the competencies;

4. Make sure they are available and committed to giving you a reference within the required schedule (e.g. not on holiday);

5. Ask them for any advice and tips, if they would like anything from you and thank them for their support;

6. Draft out examples of when they’ve seen you demonstrate the competencies and any other people you mutually know who may assist them with evidence for your reference.

***UPDATE 3 JULY 2015***

The JAC have just shared some short videos that are well worth watching and will take you less than 5 minutes in total: JAC Referees and References.

A Helping HandTime

Your time is at a premium and to submit a great form that gives you the best chance of making the selection day don’t leave it too close to the deadline. There was considerable extra unnecessary stress for the three candidates I was working with on the morning before the noon Recorder deadline! But like you they have a pile of other competing and conflicting priorities.

Collaborate with others, there are others like me who have provided invaluable help, advice and constructive, challenging feedback to successful candidates.

Here is how I work with candidates on developing strong applications to help them make their selection days. Plus all my clients pay me what they want with my Pay Fair scheme.

If you have any queries or want any clarification please either just call me on 0796 999 7335 or e-mail me

Good luck everyone but if you decide not just to rely on good fortunes do also read some of the excellent tips and advice on the JAC website and ask colleagues, judges, family and friends for some help? 

Watch Alexandra Marks talk about being a DHCJ: