Being a judge without going to private school?

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username5475760
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So I would like to be a barrister when I am older and then hopefully judge. I know that this will require hard work. However, I have been told most judges went to private school (which I did not). Is this true or do I stand a chance, irrespective of background?
PS - I'm not doing it for the money, I've always been passionate about the law. Also, I've been told barristers get paid very little at the start of their career.
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legalhelp
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Short answer: by the time you get to that point in your career, where you went to school will be totally irrelevant. I suspect that a disproportionate number of current judges were privately educated, but that is more a reflection of the state of recruitment at the bar 25-30 years ago than any sort of positive requirement.
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username5475760
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(Original post by legalhelp)
Short answer: by the time you get to that point in your career, where you went to school will be totally irrelevant. I suspect that a disproportionate number of current judges were privately educated, but that is more a reflection of the state of recruitment at the bar 25-30 years ago than any sort of positive requirement.
So are modern times more hopeful with more opportunities?
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sublime-baths
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I don’t think it matters at all. If being a judge is what you’re sure you eventually want to do, then I don’t see your education background being of any importance. Nobody cares where you studied your GCSEs or A levels at that point. If they do consider your high school education, they may look at your school to see how well you did in comparison to the average of your cohort. Your university grade may have some relevance but I doubt they’ll place any importance on it.

If you’re at that point in your career where you’re applying to be a judge, what’s far more important than anything else (I’d assume) is your experience while practicing.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
So I would like to be a barrister when I am older and then hopefully judge. I know that this will require hard work. However, I have been told most judges went to private school (which I did not). Is this true or do I stand a chance, irrespective of background?
PS - I'm not doing it for the money, I've always been passionate about the law. Also, I've been told barristers get paid very little at the start of their career.
Could I please ask for your GCSE stats?
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legalhelp
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
So are modern times more hopeful with more opportunities?
In terms of being limited by what school you went to, yes. The proportion of state school students joining the bar is far higher today than it was when the current cohort of judges were doing their pupillage. Also bear in mind that solicitors can become judges too, not just barristers. I should say that even now, everything has a knock-on effect to some degree, in that if you go to private school, you have a better chance of getting into the best universities, which in turn gives you a better chance of getting pupillage/tenancy at a good chambers, which would mean better work and better chances of judicial appointment. But if you are in the position where you are able to apply for a judicial role, no one is going to look at your application and dismiss it because you didn’t go to the right school. For now though, I suspect you are getting way, way ahead of yourself. We are talking about something that is at a minimum 25 years in the future for you. For now, concentrate on the bit in the middle, which is doing what you need to do to have a sufficiently successful legal career, so you can actually make the application when it comes to it (if that is still what you want when you get to that age).
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username5475760
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You mean my grade?
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Could I please ask for your GCSE stats?
You mean my GCSE grades? Why?
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xandra_sky
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What is it about the law that you admire and what drawbacks are there to the legal system?
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
You mean my GCSE grades? Why?
Just seeing if I can help, that's all

Not sure what stage you are with your application either
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Just seeing if I can help, that's all

Not sure what stage you are with your application either
Ok -

GCSE English Language (8)
GCSE English Literature (7)
GCSE Mathematics (5) - I am currently in the process of re-sitting this
GCSE Science Combined (5-5)
GCSE Food Nutrition (6)
GCSE Geography (6)
BTEC Drama (6)

Maths and Science grades are weak, I know
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(Original post by xandra_sky)
What is it about the law that you admire and what drawbacks are there to the legal system?
Firstly, I admire the purpose of law - it is designed to keep society together and ensure justice is served (of course, this isn't always the case - for people can escape justice or be given the wrong sentence). I have always advocated that we need to be tougher on criminal law to fully ensure law and order. It is clear from my point of view that our legal system has several drawbacks. Firstly, the people who make our laws tend to come from privileged backgrounds. I consider this to be a very strong drawback because the law is rife with elitism. I know times are changing, but to be honest I do not feel as though they are changing fast enough. If so, then why are all supreme court judges privately educated. How can we be expected to follow law (a system designed to promote equal opportunities and preserve rights) when the law itself allows inequality. It is undermined by its own parallels. Furthermore, justice is not something that happens all the time, and people have in the past received sentences that I feel is rather disproportionate in the context of the the crime they committed. If our legal system is to adopt equality, true justice can only be achieved via simple mathematics. What I mean is that the punishment allocated to a criminal must be directly proportional to the crime they have committed. For instance, there is no point ordering someone to have psychiatric therapy at a hospital if they simply took a plea of insanity to get a reduced sentence. If one has truly committed an act of murder (with genuine malice) they should truly be admitted to prison permanently (no questions asked). Hope that helps.
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legalhelp
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
Firstly, I admire the purpose of law - it is designed to keep society together and ensure justice is served (of course, this isn't always the case - for people can escape justice or be given the wrong sentence). I have always advocated that we need to be tougher on criminal law to fully ensure law and order. It is clear from my point of view that our legal system has several drawbacks. Firstly, the people who make our laws tend to come from privileged backgrounds. I consider this to be a very strong drawback because the law is rife with elitism. I know times are changing, but to be honest I do not feel as though they are changing fast enough. If so, then why are all supreme court judges privately educated. How can we be expected to follow law (a system designed to promote equal opportunities and preserve rights) when the law itself allows inequality. It is undermined by its own parallels. Furthermore, justice is not something that happens all the time, and people have in the past received sentences that I feel is rather disproportionate in the context of the the crime they committed. If our legal system is to adopt equality, true justice can only be achieved via simple mathematics. What I mean is that the punishment allocated to a criminal must be directly proportional to the crime they have committed. For instance, there is no point ordering someone to have psychiatric therapy at a hospital if they simply took a plea of insanity to get a reduced sentence. If one has truly committed an act of murder (with genuine malice) they should truly be admitted to prison permanently (no questions asked). Hope that helps.
While I admire your enthusiasm for this subject, there are a *lot* of errors and misconceptions packed into this post. For example, you talk about injustices in our criminal law, which you attribute to privilege and elitism in the legal profession and the proportion of Supreme Court justices who were privately educated. That may well be the case, but lawyers don’t make laws - Parliament makes laws. Now, that’s not to say that the same social inequality and elitism doesn’t exist among MPs. But your point still comes from a common but very dangerous misunderstanding about the role that lawyers play in shaping the law. Another example is your comment about insanity. If someone is insane (which by the way is an extremely high medical and legal hurdle - you don’t just say “I’m insane” and everyone takes your word for it) then you don’t get a reduced sentence, you get no sentence because you are not guilty. You are not guilty by reason of insanity, so you are not capable of forming the “genuine malice” required to commit the offence. If someone commits murder because he is suffering from a diagnosed mental illness, and hallucinated that his victim was in fact a vampire who needed to be stabbed through the heart with a wooden stake, would your solution really be to lock that person up in prison for the rest of their life rather than treating them? Why? I’m not saying there’s necessarily anything wrong with wanting us as a nation to take a tougher stance on crime, but you are still very young. I suggest you take some more time to learn about the subject before reaching these sorts of conclusions, otherwise you risk sounding ill-informed.
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xandra_sky
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
Firstly, I admire the purpose of law - it is designed to keep society together and ensure justice is served (of course, this isn't always the case - for people can escape justice or be given the wrong sentence). I have always advocated that we need to be tougher on criminal law to fully ensure law and order. It is clear from my point of view that our legal system has several drawbacks. Firstly, the people who make our laws tend to come from privileged backgrounds. I consider this to be a very strong drawback because the law is rife with elitism. I know times are changing, but to be honest I do not feel as though they are changing fast enough. If so, then why are all supreme court judges privately educated. How can we be expected to follow law (a system designed to promote equal opportunities and preserve rights) when the law itself allows inequality. It is undermined by its own parallels. Furthermore, justice is not something that happens all the time, and people have in the past received sentences that I feel is rather disproportionate in the context of the the crime they committed. If our legal system is to adopt equality, true justice can only be achieved via simple mathematics. What I mean is that the punishment allocated to a criminal must be directly proportional to the crime they have committed. For instance, there is no point ordering someone to have psychiatric therapy at a hospital if they simply took a plea of insanity to get a reduced sentence. If one has truly committed an act of murder (with genuine malice) they should truly be admitted to prison permanently (no questions asked). Hope that helps.
I think people get 25 years now for murder and that may be reduced on "good behaviour." It's quite an overhaul of the law to sentence someone to permanent life in prison for murder, I'm not saying I agree with the current system, but I don't see it changing...usually people who think like you have quite right wing views as well
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legalhelp
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Oh, and 2 current SC justices went to state school, as did Baroness Hale (who retired last year). Obviously not great still, but they weren’t all privately educated. Plus, these are the people who started at the bar 40-50 years ago. Not necessarily a a reflection of where we will be in 40-50 years’ time.
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legalhelp
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(Original post by xandra_sky)
I think people get 25 years now for murder and that may be reduced on "good behaviour." It's quite an overhaul of the law to sentence someone to permanent life in prison for murder, I'm not saying I agree with the current system, but I don't see it changing...usually people who think like you have quite right wing views as well
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. The minimum term (the minimum amount of time the person must spend in custody before being considered for release) will be set by the judge. It is not fixed (i.e. it is not the same in every case). When the person is released from prison, they will still be on licence. There might be conditions attached to that licence, and if they commit any further offences they risk being recalled to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence in custody.
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username5475760
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(Original post by xandra_sky)
I think people get 25 years now for murder and that may be reduced on "good behaviour." It's quite an overhaul of the law to sentence someone to permanent life in prison for murder, I'm not saying I agree with the current system, but I don't see it changing...usually people who think like you have quite right wing views as well
Well yes you are right in the 25 years (I apologise if my views come across as strong - but it is something I am passionate about). I also don't think that things are going to change but it does annoy me when I read about cases in the news of people who escape justice by being given the wrong sentence. Maybe I am just a bit odd but I suppose it's better to be passionate about something than to have a complete disregard for a system which affects the whole of society
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legalhelp
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(Original post by Joel Hodgson)
Well yes you are right in the 25 years (I apologise if my views come across as strong - but it is something I am passionate about). I also don't think that things are going to change but it does annoy me when I read about cases in the news of people who escape justice by being given the wrong sentence. Maybe I am just a bit odd but I suppose it's better to be passionate about something than to have a complete disregard for a system which affects the whole of society
See my post above - the comment about 25 years is not right. And I’m not sure what you really mean by “the wrong sentence”?
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(Original post by legalhelp)
See my post above - the comment about 25 years is not right. And I’m not sure what you really mean by “the wrong sentence”?
It happens all the time - defendants who commit murder not necessarily sent down. Some of them claim diminished responsibility (which is obviously a ploy to get out of jail) and get a reduced sentence. Not every murder case gets a satisfied outcome. That's why people contest judge's decisions out of court and have appeals to overturn the decision. We even looked at that in politics at school back in life studies. We were told that most of the time justice is never served and I have to say I agree. You are entitled to your opinion but if you claim, once more, that my views are somehow 'misunderstood' or 'wrong' then I disagree. It seems that people seem to just accept things as they are rather than question them, which is the issue with society. People see inequality but simply don't make the connection or try to fix it.
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I think the most important thing about getting into law is going to oxbridge or another top uni.
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