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22 June 2020

Law Society Urges Solicitors To Apply For High Court Positions

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has written to its members encouraging them to consider making an application for a number of High Court Judge vacancies which have been advertised by The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission.

The Society’s communication to its members reflects a new confidence within the profession following the successful appointment of Mr Justice Huddleston in January 2019.

In a communication to members the President of the Law Society, Rowan White said:

As a profession, we have in the past been guilty of assuming that only very experienced advocates will be considered for appointment to vacancies on the High Court bench.  As a result, many able colleagues have not applied for appointments to which they may have been very well suited. However, it is clear from the criteria that court advocacy is not an essential requirement for these appointments. 

Furthermore, the appointment of our colleague and former President, Mr. Justice Huddleston, in January 2019 clearly demonstrates that this assumption is incorrect and must now be finally cast aside.  His appointment highlights the relevance to his judicial office of the many skills and experience which he acquired as a transactional solicitor practising in property, commercial and private client matters.  His practice had not included advocacy and it is essential to appreciate that the skills which NIJAC lists for the current vacancies are not focused on advocacy.  

It is very clear to the Society that NIJAC is keen to attract applications from a broad range of skilled lawyers, regardless of their professional background.  There are undoubtedly a number of eminently suitable candidates currently practising in the solicitors’ profession. If you feel that you may be one of them, I urge you to take this opportunity to apply”. 



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