Guest blog: Martin Forde QC - Thinking of a future judicial appointment?

1 December 2016

Martin Forde QC, JAC Commissioner and the barrister member of the JAC, guest blogs for the Bar Council on how volunteering for a test Recorder exercise could be good practice for a future application.

Martin Forde QC 

The JAC is looking for mock candidates to help with testing selection exercise assessment materials. This is in preparation for the Recorder selection exercise that the JAC expects to run in February 2017.

I am aware that some of my colleagues are wary of and unfamiliar with our processes. In some competitions, like Recorder, the JAC receives large numbers of applications. I was the assigned Commissioner for a Deputy District Judge (Crime) competition for which we received 1453 applications for 27 places. This would have been impossible to reduce, to the 100 or so candidates we interviewed, without an online test of competence. This was drafted, as all our qualifying tests and scenarios are, by a judge or judges sitting in the relevant jurisdiction. 

We test-run all our materials. By doing test-runs of our qualifying tests, role play scenarios and mock interviews, we try to ensure that the materials and tools that have been developed are an effective means of assessing the competence of candidates for their future role.

If you're thinking of applying for judicial appointment in the future, being a volunteer mock candidate really is an invaluable opportunity to familiarise yourself with our processes. I recommend signing up to test-run materials as a great way of developing an understanding of competencies we look for in appointing future judges and as an excellent way of understanding what qualifying tests involve.

If you volunteer as a mock candidate for this exercise, you will not be able to apply for a Recorder role in the 2017 competition.

The assessment tools we're testing for this exercise are not based on any jurisdiction. Volunteers should ideally be able to meet the statutory eligibility for the post (7 years' post-qualification experience), but that is not essential.

The JAC is seeking volunteers for:

  • multiple choice online qualifying teston 10 January 2017: the test will take 60 to 90 minutes and you may need additional time to study the reading materials beforehand

  • online scenario teston 12 January 2017: this will take about 40 minutes and you may need additional time to study the reading materials beforehand

  • telephone assessmenton 24 March 2017: this will take about 30 minutes and you may need additional time to study the reading materials beforehand

  • role playon 25 and 26 May 2017: this will be in central London and take 2 to 3 hours

The dates are provisional and may change.

If you're interested in volunteering, email the selection exercise team by 7 December 2016 and specify the stage that you would like to participate in. You may register for all stages if you wish. You'll be required to sign a confidentiality statement to confirm that you will not disclose any part of the selection exercise materials.

Participating as a mock candidate will not affect any future application. Future applications will be considered completely on their own merits and no material used to make selection decisions indicates whether an individual has previously volunteered to test materials.

We are always looking to improve and keen to receive constructive feedback about any aspect of our selection processes. The selection exercise team is happy to be contacted by any prospective applicant about our process, from what we look for in a self-assessment to the interview process itself.  

Martin Forde QC is a JAC Commissioner and the barrister member of the JAC. He is one the assigned Commissioners overseeing the Recorder 2017 selection exercise. Martin took silk in 2006 and was appointed Recorder of the Crown Court in 2009. He is the South Eastern Circuit Diversity Mentor and Chair of the South Eastern Circuit Minorities Committee.