Judicial vacancies

Judicial vacancies

Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Please note that the closing date was midday on Friday 26 January 2018 - we are no longer accepting applications for both competitions.

The Selection Commission for the appointment of the Deputy President and Justices of the UK Supreme Court today launches its recruitment campaign for a new Deputy President and two, possibly three, Justices.

Lord Mance, Deputy President of the Court, will retire in June 2018, while Lord Hughes and Lord Sumption are due to retire in August and December 2018 respectively.

The successful Deputy President candidate would be expected to take up office on, or as soon as possible after, 6 June 2018. In the event of a serving Justice being appointed Deputy President, consideration will be given to the appointment of a third new Justice from this present competition. If three new Justices are appointed, two would take up appointment on 1 October 2018 and one on 11 January 2019.

The cases dealt with by the Supreme Court involve difficult points of law of general public importance and demand a deep level of legal knowledge and understanding, combined with high intellectual capacity and an understanding of the social context in which these issues arise and the communities which the law is there to serve. Candidates will need to demonstrate an understanding of the Constitutional role of the Supreme Court and its relationship with the other branches of government as well as with the governments and legislature of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The appointment commission is looking for people who can demonstrate these qualities, and who can make a contribution to the collective wisdom of the court, as well as working efficiently and effectively both in and out of the court room.

The statutory minimum qualification for all appointments advertised is to have held high judicial office for a period of at least two years, to have satisfied the judicial appointment eligibility condition on a 15-year basis or to have been a qualifying practitioner for at least 15 years. In making its recommendation the selection commissions will have regard to the requirements of the Act that a selection must be on merit, and that the commission must "ensure that between them the Judges will have knowledge of, and experience of practice in, the law of each part of the United Kingdom."

The selection commission invites applications from eligible candidates who fulfil one of the above statutory requirements and can evidence their suitability. Applications are sought from serving Justices and from the widest range of eligible candidates outside the Court, particularly those who will increase the diversity of the Court. The competition is open to candidates from any part of the United Kingdom and with any professional background which meets the statutory criteria for appointment.

A single application form is available for completion for either or both of the roles of Deputy President and Justice.

The Supreme Court will host Insight Visits for potential candidates. These will include an opportunity to sit in court and follow proceedings for up to two hours; and/or a private meeting with a current Justice (not directly involved in the appointments process) to discuss the nature, challenges and highlights of the role. Expressions of interest may be submitted until 5pm on Friday 12 January 2018.


Key documents

Please contact Grainne Hawkins (grainne.hawkins@supremecourt.uk tel: 020 7960 1906) for an application form.

Further information which may be of interest to applicants

The independent selection process

Debate days at The UK Supreme Court

Much of the selection process is set out in statute, namely the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013).

In short, the 7 undertaken by the independent selection commissions (once convened by the Lord Chancellor) are:

  • Consultation with the Lord Chancellor on the positions to be advertised and the process of selection
  • Vacancies are advertised, with candidates invited to submit a personal statement, examples of work and details of referees. The basic eligibility criteria are set by Parliament.
  • The statute also requires that the Lord Chancellor, the First Minister in Scotland, the First Minister in Wales, the Judicial Appointments Commission in Northern Ireland and senior judges across the UK are consulted as part of the selection process.
  • Candidates are shortlisted and interviewed by the panels. Under changes introduced by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, where two candidates are deemed to be of equal merit, the commission can give preference to one candidate over the other for the purpose of increasing diversity within the Court.
  • After interviews, a report is sent to the Lord Chancellor for her consideration. There is another round of consultation with the senior politicians and judges. The Lord Chancellor then accepts the recommendation(s), or can reject it, or ask the commission to reconsider.
  • When the Lord Chancellor accepts a recommendation, the name is notified to the Prime Minister and HM The Queen. Candidates are informed of the outcome, and the Prime Minister's Office then makes an announcement.

A more detailed description of the process is also available on our Appointments of Justices section.