Who can apply?

Qualification requirement

The Scheme is open to Barristers, Solicitors, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, Registered Patent Attorneys and Registered Trade Mark Attorneys. It is also open to professionally qualified legal academics

The following table provides information on who can apply, the type of judge you can shadow and the minimum number of post qualification legal experience, you will require to participate in the scheme.

Legal practitioner who can apply to the scheme Type of judge that can be shadowed under the scheme Number of minimum years of post qualification legal experience required to shadow
Barristers Solicitors High Court Judge Seven years
Circuit Judge, District Judge (Civil or Family) District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) Tribunal Judge Seven years
The Chartered Legal Executives District Judge (Civil or Family) District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) Judicial Office-holders in the following Tribunals:

  • Employment Tribunal *
  • Competition Appeal Tribunal Judge
  • Road User Charging Adjudicator Tribunal
  • Parking and Traffic Adjudicator
  • Tribunals Service – first tier tribunal:

Social Entitlement Chamber,

  • Social Security and Child Support
  • Asylum Support
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation

Health Education and Social Care Chamber

  • Mental Health
  • Care Standards
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability

War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber

Immigration and Asylum Tribunal

Seven years
Registered Patent Attorneys Judge in the Copyright Tribunal Appointed Person in the Trade Marks Registry Tribunal Seven years
Registered Trade Mark Attorneys Judge in the Copyright Tribunal Appointed Person in the Trade Marks Registry Tribunal Seven years

Unfortunately students are not eligible for this scheme although there may be other schemes open to them. Students may be able to arrange some shadowing through their local court, university or Inn of Court.

Nationality requirements

Applicants must be citizens of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or a Commonwealth country and be a member of one of the relevant professional bodies in England and Wales (or in Scotland or Northern Ireland in the case of shadowing in a Tribunals Service hearing centre located in Scotland or Northern Ireland). Holders of dual nationality which includes one of these may apply.

The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission and the Employment Tribunals in Scotland administers a separate Judicial Shadowing Scheme.

For work shadowing opportunities in the Employment Tribunals in Scotland, please contact the President of the Tribunal at Glasgow.President@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.

Membership and disciplinary checks

The Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme is supported by all participating professional bodies: the Bar Council, Law Society, Institute of Legal Executives, Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.

Please note the Judicial Office will contact an applicant’s professional body to carry out membership and disciplinary checks. These checks will form part of the Judicial Office’s selection process for the Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme.

We cannot offer work shadowing placements to practitioners who have conditions on their authority to practice or who have been suspended from practice following a finding against them within the last three years.

Statutory eligibility for appointment

Barristers and Solicitors are eligible for appointment as:

  • High Court Judge
  • Recorder
  • Deputy District Judge
  • Deputy District Judges of the Principal Registry of the Family Division
  • Deputy District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts)
  • Tribunal Judge.

Under the provisions of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, Fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives are eligible for appointment as Deputy District Judge, both in the County Courts and Magistrates’ Courts, and as fee-paid Legal Member of certain tribunals:

  • Road User Charging Adjudicator
  • Panel Chairman of Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • Legally qualified member of Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
  • Panel Chairman of Employment Tribunals
  • Parking and Traffic Adjudicators and
  • Judges of the first-tier Tribunal

They will be eligible to shadow a judge in any of these jurisdictions.

Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys are eligible for appointment

  • in the Copyright Tribunal or
  • as an Appointed Person to hear and determine an appeal at the Trade Marks Registry Tribunal

and will be eligible to shadow these judicial office holders.

We will make every effort to make reasonable adjustments for participants who have a disability.

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