Interview Guidance 

Legal case studies are usually the first stage of the Board's interview process when recruiting court judges. Taken together with the material in your application form and your written work example, this will be a key part of the assessment of whether you have the appropriate level of legal knowledge and competence for the role you have applied for.

It will involve reviewing and discussing relevant material with the judicial and legal members. The lay members play no part in the assessment of legal competence, however they will observe this stage of the process and may draw from it evidence for the personal and judicial criteria.

Preparing for the Legal Case Studies

In advance

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the documentation provided to you in advance.
  • Familiarise yourself with the relevant case law and legislation.

On the day

  • Managing your time effectively will be very important.
  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Allocate an appropriate amount of time to read the documentation provided to you on the day (if applicable).
  • Allocate an appropriate amount of time to prepare your response (if applicable).
  • When discussing with the panel be aware of the time allocated to each section and keep to time.

In advance 

  • Re-read your application form.
  • Familiarise yourself with the required skills and qualities for the role you have applied for.
  • Identify examples from your past experience which you can use to demonstrate that you possess the relevant skills and qualities.
  • If you lack direct experience, what else can you tell the panel that demonstrates your potential to fulfil the office?
  • Anticipate questions the panel may ask.
  • Practice your responses using the STAR model.

A reminder of the STAR Model


Each individual example should follow a clear structure. The following structure may assist:


StageDetails% of answer
 Situation   Briefly outline the situation - to give context. 10%
 Task State what you were trying to achieve. 10%
 Action What action did you take? Explain what you did, how you did it and why you did it. What did you actually do? What was your contribution and role? 60%
 Result Describe the result. What happened and what did you learn? Did you achieve what you set out to do? What difficulties and challenges did you face? Did you have to adapt to achieve your goal? 20%


 On the day

  • You are very welcome to take notes and a copy of your application form in to your interview.
  • You are also very welcome to take a pen and some blank paper in to your interview. The panel would encourage you to briefly note down the question asked before considering the question and your response. This reduces the chance of you missing key words or phrases.
  • Don't rush your response to the interview questions. Take a moment to properly consider the question and, if it is a competency based question, think of the best example you can give to demonstrate the criteria being explored in the question.

During the interview, you will be asked a mixture of competency and scenario questions. Competency based questions invite you to provide specific examples from your life that demonstrate the criteria whereas scenario based questions invite you to explain what you would do in the given situation.

Typical sample competency based questions

Personal characteristics 
Tell us about a time when you have had to use moral courage.

Case management skills and efficiency 
What deadlines do you have to deal with most commonly in your present role?  How do you successfully achieve them?

Communication skills 
How does the judge use her/his communication skills to demonstrate that s/he is ‘in charge’ in the Court?

Typical sample scenario based questions

Personal characteristics 
You are presiding over a trial involving a child witness and the child is becoming distraught.  What would you do?

Case management skills and efficiency 
You are presiding over a busy bulk court.  The cases included deferred sentences and new custodies all of which must be concluded that day.  How would you prioritise to get through the business?

Communication skills 
You are required to issue a written judgment following a difficult civil case which included disputed allegations of historical sexual abuse within a family. The case had split the family and the evidence was confusing and contradictory.  What presentational issues will you have to address in the framing of your judgment?

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