Completing your Application

NIJAC provides a fair and transparent process for selecting applicants for judicial office to serve in Northern Ireland’s courts and tribunals.

We are committed to the principle of appointment solely on merit. We encourage and welcome applications from the widest possible range of applicants regardless of gender, ethnic and social background, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or disability.

The Applicant Information Booklet will include all anticipated relevant dates for the scheme, including advance notice of the intended Assessment dates. It is important that you ensure you are available to attend on these dates prior to making an application.

The information below will provide some advice on completing your application:

(Fuller advice is available in the various versions of Guidance to Applicants)


The Judicial Profile

The Judicial Profile is an overall framework which provides a picture of what is required of those to be appointed to judicial office.

It is divided between two areas: Skills & Attributes and Behaviours & Effectiveness. Within each there are three Criteria:

Skills & Attributes

  • Knowledge and Expertise
  • Intellectual Capacity
  • Exercising Judgement

Behaviours & Effectiveness

  • Collaborating Effectively
  • Communication Effectively
  • Managing Effectively

Each Selection Committee refers to the Judicial Profile framework identifying the key skills, attributes, behaviours and effectiveness required to succeed in the particular judicial office. By completing a job analysis of the Job Description and the Judicial Profile each Selection Committee creates a unique Person Specification for each recruitment scheme.


The Person Specification

The Person Specification is the key document for applicants to make reference to when completing their application and in thorough preparation for the assessment and selection process.  

It is important because it sets out the specific criteria for appointment and is the basis against which applicants will be assessed throughout the shortlisting and assessment centre stages of the selection process. Applicants should consider how their experience is relevant or transferable to the areas in the Person Specification, having also considered the Job Description and any other information regarding the office under recruitment.

The Person Specification is:

Based on Ability

Identifying the necessary skills, attributes, behaviour and effectiveness that the ideal appointee should display. Some roles require specific knowledge and skills and through the assessment process you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your potential ability and transferability of skills.

Related to the Job

Reflects the requirements of the office outlined in the job description. On occasion, some specific knowledge or experience may be required e.g. Employment Judges will require knowledge/experience of employment law. In all instances the Person Specification must be read in the context of the job description (for example references to analysing information and extracting the relevant facts must be read in a different context for a role in the High Court than it would for a tribunal role in a limited legal jurisdiction).

Measured throughout the process

Through your application form at shortlisting, an interview complemented by other assessment methods such as a situational judgement test or a role-play.

View examples of a Person Specification for a Senior Legal Role and a Lay/Medical Role.

The Star Approach


The application form required applicants to provide examples to show how they meet each of the elements in the Person Specification.

The STAR method is a great way to structure answers for each of the elements in the application form and at the assessment stage. If you can quantify any results or impact you made, even better. Focus mainly upon ‘Action’ and ‘Result’ as this is where to elaborate on your actions and decisions, and the impact they made.


Explain the situation that you were in. This should be a short description, it could be: ‘during my time as a solicitor, ‘whilst working in private practice’, or ‘whilst working as a GP’


You need to briefly explain what you did and how you met the criteria. If you were working in a group or as a member of a panel, explain the overall objective but focus on your own role.

  • What was the objective?
  • What were you trying to achieve?
  • What is the context of the example?


This is the most substantial part (around 50-70%) of any example and you need to include:

  • What you did.
  • Why you did it.
  • How you did it.
  • Which skills you used.

Tip: In this section you really need to focus on your unique contribution to the task at hand. The example scenario need to be written for a lay reader.


There is little point in explaining the situation, task and action if the assessor is left wondering whether what you did made any difference. So be prepared to explain:

  • What was the outcome?
  • What happened as a result of the actions you took?
  • What did you learn?
  • Did you achieve the objective?
  • What difficulties and challenges did you face?
  • Did you have to adapt your approach?
  • What would you do differently or improve?
  • What impact did the result have on the team task?


  • Describe the group task but focus on your actions. 
  • In the action part of the example, make sure you cover the skills and qualities that are being sought.
  • Try to use an example with a positive outcome.
  • Be concise.
  • Remember that not all questions will be based on examples from your previous work, for example they may also seek your consideration of issues affecting the judicial office for which you are applying, seek you to consider how you would deal with a scenario potentially arising in the role etc. For this reason you should ensure that you familiarise yourself with the role thoroughly.


Further Advice

  • Examples do not all need to be provided from your current or most recent employment. Examples from other areas of your life may be used if you consider they better address an area of the Person Specification.

  • Each area of the Self Assessment is typically limited to 500 words therefore you need to be concise while addressing all areas. Bullet points are acceptable to use.

  • Focus on your personal role and make sure the Selection Committee are made aware of your actions.

The links below will guide you to some further documents and information which you may find useful in assisting or informing your application:

Judicial Profiles

This section includes profiles written by former and current Judicial Office holders in Northern Ireland with the aim of informing applicants about the day to day realities of that office.

Nature of the Role

The nature of the role documents are provided to give applicants further insight to the work undertaken within a judicial office.

Judicial Shadowing scheme

Applicants are encouraged to shadow an existing office holder to help inform career planning as well as taking the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the role.