Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) 2023 Competition

This competition launched on Wednesday 8 March and the deadline for applications is 1pm on Wednesday 22 March.

There are only 15 vacancies across England and Wales so I anticipate this will be one of the most competitive competitions the JAC have ever run. About 10 years ago the DDJ Mags competition was the first one where the JAC used on-line qualifying tests as a shortlisting tool. I initially thought the JAC would not be using them for this competition but it has now been confirmed that they will be! However,  candidates will be required ed to submit evidence of how they demonstrate the competencies before sitting the qualifyng tests.

The on-line qualifying tests will take place on Tuesday 4 April and for those who get through the scenario test will be on Wednesday 10 May. My guidance on qualifying tests can be found here.

Candidates will be informed in July whether they are invited to the selection days which will be conducted via MS Teams in September. The JAC will contact your nominated independent assessors on 18 July and they are asked to return their assessments by 1pm on 1 August (NB potential summer holidays!).

The Selection Days are scheduled to take place remotely between 11 and 22 September.

The target date for informing candidates of their outcomes is January 2024!

The last DDJ mags competition in 2021 had almost 1,000 applicants, assuming a similar number apply this year, you’ll need to be in the top c4% to be shortlisted and the top 1.5% to be successful.

Whatever the actual numbers, it will be a fierce competition but once again shortlisting will be down to the lottery of qualifying and speed typing tests.

Here is some guidance on how to approach drafting your candidate assessment form >

NB Additional Criteria box,  again within 250 words: “Candidates must be able to demonstrate substantial knowledge and experience of criminal law & procedure. It is expected that candidates’ evidence of knowledge and experience of criminal law & procedure will be within the last 5 years.” 

#TopTip Work on it in bite sized chunks and ask for help from colleagues, friends and family who will give you honest feedback and advice.

The form looks really simple and innocuous but is much harder to complete than it looks! It can typically take c16 hours to perfect. There is a deliberately tight 2 week window (probably to suppress the number of applicants) and the JAC haven’t run an application seminar to promote or assist candidates in this competition.