In the Media

Deputy district judge competition hit by IT glitches

PUBLISHED March 28, 2012

Thursday 29 March 2012 by Catherine Baksi

Technical problems may have disadvantaged some candidates in the heavily oversubscribed deputy district judge competition, it has been alleged.

The deputy district judge (magistrates' court) selection exercise last October elicited nearly 1,500 applications for 28 vacancies - 54 candidates for each post.

A solicitor not shortlisted for appointment told the Gazette that the process, in which candidates had a 48-hour window to complete a 90-minute online test, was a 'disaster'. Technical problems, he said, meant that some candidates were unable to log on to sit the test, while others had their time cut short and were unable to complete it.

He also said the process disadvantaged older practitioners who were unaccustomed to typing and might have been unable to complete tasks in the allotted time.

The competition was one of three pilots run by the Judicial Appointments Commission to enable candidates to take tests confidentially at a time and place of their choosing. The online tests were operated by professional testing company Kenexa, appointed following a competitive tender.

A JAC spokeswoman said some candidates experienced technical difficulties, which have been worked through with the supplier. 'There was a vigorous moderation process to ensure no one was disadvantaged, and more candidates than usual have also been invited to attend an interview.'

She added: 'The technical issues are being resolved for future tests, and when the online testing pilots are complete they will be fully evaluated.'