Section 9(1) and Section 9(4) Senior Courts Act 1981

|General|Protocols

Section 9(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 provides for the Lord Chief Justice, or his nominee (usually the Heads of Division) to authorise a number of judicial office holders, tribunal office holders and retired judicial and tribunal office holders to sit as judges in the High Court, Crown Court or Court of Appeal. Following the introduction of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, tribunal and retired tribunal office holders can also be authorised to sit as judges of the High Court.

Following the introduction of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 the manner in which Circuit Judges, Recorders, and tribunal office holders, could be authorised under this provision changed.

The Lord Chief Justice or his or her nominee may now only authorise a Circuit Judge to act as a judge of the Court of Appeal with the concurrence of the Judicial Appointments Commission. Any Circuit Judge so authorised may however only act as a judge of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

The Lord Chief Justice or his or her nominee may now only authorise a Circuit judge, Recorder or Tribunal office holder to sit as judge of the High Court if they are a member of a pool from which such authorisations can be made. In order to obtain pool membership the judicial or tribunal office holder must successfully complete a Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) selection process. Details of the process are available on the JAC’s website at: http://jac.judiciary.gov.uk/.

Section 9(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 provides that the Lord Chief Justice can appoint an individual who is a qualified for appointment as a High Court judge to the office of deputy judge of the High Court. Appointment is however subject to a JAC competition. In exceptional circumstances, under section 94AA of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Lord Chief Justice may appoint an individual to this office without the need for such a competition. Such exceptional appointments are however of limited duration.

An individual appointed to the office of deputy judge of the High Court may sit in the High Court, Crown Court or any other court or tribunal to which they can be deployed.