New web service to allow anyone to assess their suitability to sit as a judge
Senior lawyers seeking appointment as judges will be expected to apply via a new website due to go live this week. The Judicial Appointments Commission, an independent body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, hopes that a new website will encourage a wider range of applicants to sit on judicial benches.
The new website, created in-house with the help of the Government Digital Service, will include a "self assessment tool" through which anyone can see whether they meet the requirements for character, qualifications and 'suitability'.
Stuart Burrows, the commission's assistant director of policy, told the Law Society Gazette that the new site is the fruit of a programme of change over the past 18 months to make the application process more user-friendly. He expects the vast majority of applications to be made electronically. 'We wouldn't rule out paper applications absolutely but there would have to be a very good reason for them such as a severe disability,' Burrows said.
The Ministry of Justice is responsible for four of the government's 25 'digital exemplar' services. Of these, three are classified as live. They are: making a civil claim, booking a prison visit and taking out a lasting power of attorney. A fourth service, for loading an appeal to an employment tribunal, is in beta phase.