You can now apply to be a Supreme Court justice

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By Katie King on

Applications to fill unprecedented number of vacancies open today


Ever fancied yourself as the next Lord Neuberger or Lady Hale? As of today, the Supreme Court is accepting applications for its latest judicial stars.

Candidates will be able to apply for an unprecedentedly high number of positions, two of which are standard justice positions. Commanding salaries in excess of £200,000, the vacancies have been created by Lord Toulson, who retired last summer and is yet to be replaced, and Lord Clarke, who will be waving goodbye to the bench later on this year.

Then there’s the third position, the president of the Supreme Court. Lord Neuberger will be stepping down this year, leaving the Westminster bench’s middle chair vacant. It’s widely believed Lady Hale, current deputy president of the court, will be notched up the ranks and fill his position. If this is the case, a third justice will be appointed from the same pool of candidates applying to replace Toulson and Clarke.

The recruitment process here is stringent and governed by statute, which also sets out the basic eligibility criteria. As pointed out by Legal Cheek last month, the criteria is perhaps not as restrictive as you might think, with lawyers such as Amal Clooney and Joshua Rozenberg in theory able to apply.

Eligible candidates will make their case by submitting a personal statement, examples of work and references. Though there are various consultation stages throughout the process with, for example, the Lord Chancellor, two separate selection commissions are tasked with recommending the justices and the president respectively.

For the two vacancies for justices of the Supreme Court, the current president will chair the panel. He will work alongside Lord Kakkar — who is a professor of surgery at University College London and a cross-bench peer — and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas. Joining them will be Professor Nichola Rooney of the Judicial Appointments Commission for Northern Ireland and Deirdre Fulton of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.

The second selection panel is made up of the same people, bar Lord Neuberger, but includes current Supreme Court judge Lord Mance. It will be chaired by Lord Kakkar.

Diversity will no doubt be high on the selection panels’ agenda.

In November, Neuberger revealed steps had been taken to encourage as diverse a range of eligible candidates as possible to apply. These steps included insight sessions to give potential applicants the chance to look around the court and discuss the role with a current justice.

Fancy it? You can apply here. Applications close on 10 March.

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