Frequently Asked Questions

You should delete or redact any references to the identity of clients or others in such documents. The Board will treat these in confidence.  However if you are unable to share it with the Board, you should choose another example that best fits the criteria for appointment. 

The Board requests judicial references for senior appointment rounds.  They are requested from the Lord President, and from any Sheriffs Principal that applicants have worked for, in advance of interviews taking place.

The Board makes its recommendations for appointment in response to specific requests from the Scottish Ministers.  Following the Board Decision Meeting a recommendation report is sent to Scottish Ministers.

Yes.  The format of the feedback will be dictated by the scale of the exercise.  For large appointment rounds, at sift stage, feedback will be provided by way of a generic letter, which will cover common issues the sift panel found when sifting applications. 

For small appointment rounds it may be possible to provide tailored feedback at sift stage.  Following interviews all applicants, including those who are successful, will be offered tailored feedback, either by letter or by telephone call, again dependent on the scale of the exercise.

Appointment rounds are held as and when the Board is requested to do so by the Scottish Ministers.

The eligibility criteria for judicial offices vary. For further information please see the Eligibility for Judicial Appointments section of our website.

Not necessarily, but the Board will take this into consideration when considering your suitability for appointment. All convictions, including Fixed Penalty Notices, must be disclosed. Applicants for judicial appointment are not protected by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore spent convictions must be declared in writing.  Please see the Board’s policy on Convictions on our website for further information.

The Board is looking for applicants who demonstrate that they have high standards of legal skills and competence. In addition to these, the Board will assess applicants across a range of personal and judicial qualities. Please see the Judicial Qualities section of our website for more detailed information.

No. Previous judicial or tribunal experience, either part-time or full-time, is not a requirement for appointment to judicial office. The Board may however take such experience into account.

No. It is about experience and practice, but for most judicial roles, applicants must be 10 years’ qualified.   

No. The Board does not refer to previous applications when assessing applicants and treats each application as a fresh application. Additionally, the Board and selection panel membership changes so members could be unaware of previous applications.

Your written work should demonstrate your knowledge of the law and your ability to understand and interpret the law and to apply it in a given situation. Examples might include advice given to clients in the form of letters or memos, opinions or notes; written submissions or other written legal argument; reports, opinions, judgments, stated cases or decision letters given in a judicial, tribunal or similar capacity; written advice given internally in a firm or other institutional environment; or any other written explanation of the law, and how that applies in the circumstances of a particular case or other factual situation. The examples that you choose be recent, and clearly demonstrate the legal competence criteria.

Example(s) of written work are requested, along with a competency based online application form, and a sift takes place based on this documentation. Judicial references are requested for those applicants invited to interview.

Interviews are normally held in Edinburgh. The interview panel comprises up to two lay Board members and two judicial or legal members.

 

The interview is in two stages:

 

The first stage is a case study – Applicants are given time to consider legal material, most of which is provided in advance. They then have a discussion about this material with the judicial and legal members of the interview panel. The lay members of the panel are present but do not take part in this discussion. Examples of previous case studies are available on our website.

 

The second stage is a competency based interview, that will last up to 50 minutes, focussing on the personal and judicial qualities required for judicial office.

No. The Board gathers information on applicants throughout the process (application form and written work). The interview, and the report of the interview panel, is one part of it. The final decision about an applicant’s suitability to be recommended for appointment is made by the full Board taking into account all the collected information.

You must remember that this is an “offer” of recommendation. When the Board has made a recommendation of an individual for appointment to the First Minister, the Scottish Government undertakes a number of further steps before the First Minister makes the final decision to recommend an individual for appointment. These steps include the statutory consultation with the Lord President and arranging a Royal Warrant.

The Board trusts that you will respect the principle of strict confidentiality and restrict knowledge of your recommendation to your immediate family, and, in so far as necessary, professional associates.

The timescales vary but in general terms can take 4-6 weeks to complete.  Successful applicants will be informed by the Scottish Government’s Justice Directorate officials, in strictest confidence that their name is going forward to the Palace, and an announcement will be made only after Her Majesty has signed the Royal Warrant of Appointment.