By Legal Futures Associate CILEx Regulation
As a member of the Judicial Diversity Forum (JDF), CILEx is working with partners to break down the barriers to judicial appointment for candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and in April launched the PAJE programme to support applicants considering applying to become a judge.
Becoming a judge is an opportunity for talented legal practitioners to develop their careers and make a difference at the heart of the justice system. Chartered legal executives are eligible to apply for judicial office in roles up to and including District Judge. CILEx Fellows come from a wide range of different backgrounds and the Judicial Appointments Commission for England and Wales (JAC) encourages eligible CILEx Fellows to consider judicial appointment.
CILEx has a key role in encouraging greater judicial diversity as one of the members of the JDF. The JDF brings together the JAC, Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the judiciary and the legal professions (the Bar Council, the Law Society and CILEx) to identify ways of improving judicial diversity.
The JDF provides strategic direction in the areas of:
- challenging structural barriers to appointment
- analysing and addressing the reasons behind differential progression
- collection and use of data and evidence
- resolving issues of common concern
- coordination of agreed activities aimed at encouraging greater judicial diversity
Forum members support each other’s initiatives and undertake joint projects.
Current CILEx President Matthew Foster represents CILEx at JDF meetings which are held twice a year at the Lord Chancellor’s office. At these meetings, senior representatives of the JDF organisations discuss ways of improving judicial diversity and take forward joint initiatives.
One such initiative is the Pre-Application Judicial Education programme (PAJE), which launched in April 2019.
This JDF initiative aims to support applicants from underrepresented groups considering judicial office. PAJE is a two-stage programme. The first stage is a series of digital resources, developed by the Judicial College. These resources cover topics such as judgecraft, decision-making, judicial ethics, resilience and equality and diversity. They are available to everyone on the UK Judiciary YouTube page
The second stage consists of a series of judge-led workshops to help candidates feel more equipped, confident and prepared when applying for a future judicial role. Candidates must apply for a space on these discussion groups and priority is given to candidates from the most under-represented groups.
CILEx Fellows interested in applying for judicial office, who meet the statutory eligibility criteria, are invited to consider using the online PAJE videos and to apply for a place on the PAJE discussion groups. The next application round for applicants interested in the PAJE discussion groups is due to open in January 2020.
More information can be found on the Judiciary website