jxzminxallen
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Is it more difficult to become a lawyer or a judge?
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tashkent46
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I don't think you have thought this question through.

How could you be a judge without some experience of the law?

Judges in this country are required to have legal experience. The only exception I can think of is professionally-qualified legal academics who are also likely to have had previous experience of the law prior to appointment.
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You can't start as a judge. Judges will have been barristers or (sometimes) solicitors before becoming judges so it is harder to become a judge.
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jacketpotato
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In some countries, becoming a judge is a separate career path.

In the UK, that isn't the case. You need to be a very experienced lawyer before being considered for appointment as a judge - and the first judicial appointment is often part time, done alongside the day job.
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
In some countries, becoming a judge is a separate career path.

In the UK, that isn't the case. You need to be a very experienced lawyer before being considered for appointment as a judge - and the first judicial appointment is often part time, done alongside the day job.
This. A person's first appointment is normally as either a Deputy District Judge (which is a part time District Judge, based in the County Court or Magistrates Court), a Fee Paid Tribunal Judge (again, Fee Paid means part time, and the Tribunal can either be the Employment Tribunal or First Tier, which has a lot of different chambers that cover different areas of law, such as immigration or tax), or a Recorder (which is a part time Circuit Judge, based in the Crown Court or County Court). You apply for a judicial role (either part time or full time) just like you apply for any other job, but they require a minimum level of experience with the law (normally as a practising lawyer) before you are eligible. All judicial roles are advertised on the Judicial Appointments Commission website, and you apply through there. The application process varies from time to time, but generally involves an online test comprising one or more multiple choice elements and a longer essay element, and then those that complete that part (about one third of applicants do last I checked) are invited to the second stage, which involves a role play with actors and an interview in front of a panel. That process has been tweaked for current applications due to the pandemic, and from conversations I've had with people currently involved in the process (there's a round of applications going on at the moment) I think the role-play element may now be paper based in terms of dealing with a practical situation, but I'm not certain.

In terms of the difficulty of that process, it is difficult. Recruitment rounds for judicial positions often don't hit their target recruitment numbers, partly due to the number of and partly due to the quality of applicants. So you're not strictly competing against others. In general if you hit the baseline competency levels that the recruiters are looking for, you'll be offered a position. But that baseline competency level is high, and experience and skill as a lawyer by no means guarantees that you will hit the competency levels needed to become a judge. The skills needed to be a good judge are (unsurprisingly) different to those needed to be a good lawyer. Most new judges are over the age of 40, but there are actually more judges than you'd think that start in that role in their 30s. That's because experience in terms of practise is not a pre requisite, and whilst it is often helpful for a variety of reasons, it's perfectly possible for someone in their 30s to have the skills needed to be appointed as a judge. If you have those skills it's possible that you'll secure a position with your first application, but most don't. I know several barristers who became judges at the first attempt, but I know more who needed several rounds, or who are still trying after several rounds.
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