The Judiciary

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Types of Judges

There is wo types of judges and they are Superior Judges and Inferior Judges.

Superior Judges

They are in the Supreme Court and The Court of Appeal and the High Court.

The head of the judiciary is The Lord Chief Justice.

Inferior Judges

The inferior judges include Circuit Judges, Recorders,District Judges in the county court and District judges in the Magistrates Court.

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The applicant must have relevant legal qualifications and have gained experience in the law for a certain period of time.The qualifications to become a judge have widened over the last 20 years.

Relevent Qualifications

Court and Enforcement Act 2007 contains the most recent changes to the qualifications needed.The act states that to apply to become a judge you must have the relevant legal qualifications.This is normally as a barrister or solicitor, however for some levels the act has opened up some judical posts beyond this.

Gain Experience in Law

The ways in which you can gain experience in law have been widened.As well as teaching or practising law, the act recognisises that activities such as acting as an arbitrator or mediator, advising on law or drafting legal materials are also methods in which an applicant can gain experience in law. The time in which you have to work in law before applyuing has been reduced. Previously it was 7 years for lower levels and 10 years for senior posts. These time posts are now 5 and 7 years respectively.These have broadened the ypes of applicants.

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Justices of the Supreme Court

They are appointed by those who hold High Judical Office.

Or those who have been qualified in the senior courts for 15 years or longer.

The supreme court is the final appelate court for Scotland as well as Northen Ireland, judges can be appointed from those who have qualified to appear in Scotland or Northen Ireland for at least 15 years.  

Lord Justices of Appeal

A Lord Justice is a judge in the Court of Appeal.

They must have been qualified as a barrister or solicitor or gained experience in law for at least 7 years, or have been an existing High Court Judge.

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High Court Judges

How to become eligible:

  • qualified as a barrister or solicitor or gained experience in law for at least 7 years.
  • To have been a circuit judge for at least two years.

Prior to 1990 only those who had practised as a barrister for 10 years were eligible.The vast majority of High Court Judges have been barristers.However, present qualification routes give solicitors the chance to become High Court Judges. The first was appointed in 1993 and the second in 2000.

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