Judicial Appointments Commission - One Lay Commissioner with responsibility for Welsh matters, and one Judicial (Tribunal Judge) Commissioner

Body: Judicial Appointments Commission
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sector: Judicial, Prison & Policing
Location: London
Skills required: Communication / Media / Marketing, Legal / Judicial
Number of Vacancies: 2
Remuneration: £338 per day. Remuneration is taxable and subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The role is not pensionable and your remuneration may be abated if you receive a public service pension – any queries you may have about how this may affect you, will need to be taken up by you with your pension provider.
Time Requirements: The appointment will run for three years. Commissioners are expected to commit around 28 days each year to attend meetings and external events, including involvement in oversight of selection exercises and in light of current judicial recruitment volumes the JAC may request up to a further 10 paid days per year.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

The appointment of the three Commissioners and reappointment of five Commissioners to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), are each for a term of 3 years. Details of the appointees and their start dates are below.

•Judge Greg Sinfield as a Senior Judicial Commissioner whose appointment commenced on 9 June 2020;
•Rt. Rev. Dr Barry Morgan as the Lay Commissioner with responsibility for Welsh matters; and
•Judge Christa Christensen as the Judicial (Tribunal Judge) Commissioner.

Both Dr Morgan and Judge Christensen commenced their roles on 6 July 2020

The following Commissioners have been reappointed and their tenures will commence on 1 September 2020:
•Mathangi Asokan (District Judge), Judicial Commissioner;
•Emir Feisal (non-legal judicial), Judicial Commissioner;
•Jane Furniss, Lay Commissioner;
•Andrew Kennon, Lay Commissioner; and
•Sir Simon Wessely, Lay Commissioner.

JAC is an independent body that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales, and for some tribunals with UK-wide jurisdiction. Candidates are selected on merit, through fair and open competition.

JAC Commissioners are appointed, under Schedule 12(1) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, by Her Majesty the Queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

Commissioner appointments and re-appointments to the JAC comply with the Governance Code on Public Appointments and are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Senior Judicial Commissioners are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments in accordance with Regulation 10 and 11 of the Judicial Appointments Regulations 2013.


New Appointments

Greg Sinfield – Senior Judicial Commissioner:

Greg was appointed as President of the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) in October 2017.

Greg was called to the Bar in 1981. Between 1983 and 1987, Greg worked in the Solicitor’s Office of HM Customs and Excise. He returned to private practice in 1988 with a firm of solicitors now known as Hogan Lovells International. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1989 and became a partner in the tax group of the firm in 1993.

Greg was appointed as a salaried Judge of the Upper Tribunal, assigned to the Tax and Chancery Chamber, in February 2012 and regularly sat in the First-tier Tribunal as well.

Christa Christensen – Judicial (Tribunal Judge) Commissioner:

Christa was appointed as a fee paid Employment Judge in 1995. She became a salaried Employment Judge in 2003, assigned to sit in the Employment Tribunal in Exeter and then Bristol. She was Director of Training for Tribunals for the Judicial College, Editor of the Tribunals Journal between 2016 and 2020 and Deputy Director of Training for the Employment Tribunals (E&W) between 2009 and 2016.

Christa continues to sit as an Employment Judge and was also assigned to sit in the Mental Health Tribunal in the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber in 2020.

Christa qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and specialised in company and commercial work. She combined work in private practice and as a lecturer at the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England until her appointment as a salaried judge in 2003.

Rt. Rev. Dr Barry Morgan – Lay Commissioner with responsibility for Welsh matters:

Barry is a Welsh Anglican Bishop and academic from Neath in Wales. He held both parish and university posts before becoming Bishop of Bangor in 1993, Llandaff in 1999 and was Archbishop of Wales from 2003 – 2017. During his time in office it became possible for women to be ordained as priests and bishops, and for prayers to be offered for same sex couples in public services in the Church in Wales

As well as being Pro Chancellor of the University of Wales, Barry is a Fellow of five Welsh Universities, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and a Knight of the Order of St. John. He has published a number of articles in books and journals, as well as a book on the poetry of R S Thomas. Barry also chaired a Commission on Homelessness in Wales in 2007 on behalf of Shelter Cymru.


Mathangi Asokan – Judicial (District Judge) Commissioner:

Mathu started her career as a solicitor, progressing quickly to partner and to head the defendant insurance department at her firm. She was appointed a Deputy District Judge in 1999 and combined sitting days with a busy practice until her appointment to the Bench in 2002. Mathu sits full-time at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and deals with children and Court of Protection cases. Her roles have included Diversity and Community Relations Judge for the West Midlands area and Family and Children Tutor Judge for the Judicial College. Mathu was also a committee member of the UK Association of Women Judges since its inception and remained so for a period of 12 years.

Emir Khan Feisal – Judicial (non-legal) Commissioner:

Emir is a chartered accountant, specialising in transformational change and has been a magistrate since 2005. Most of his career was spent at The Sunday Times as Associate Managing Editor, where he was responsible for the organisation’s finances.

Emir is a board member of the Serious Fraud Office, the Honours Committee, and is a Trustee of The Henry Smith Charity and the Magistrate Association. He sits on appeals at the Crown Court, and was previously a lay member of the Council of the Inns of Court ,the Bar Tribunal Adjudication Service and Audit Chair of Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group.

Jane Furniss CBE – Lay Commissioner:

Jane is a Trustee of the leadership college, Cumberland Lodge, and provides mentoring support and advice to chairs and senior executives through Critical Eye. Jane also chairs the Capital Appeal Board for Overgate Hospice in West Yorkshire. She was a non-executive director on the Board of the National Crime Agency until March 2019, and was Senior Independent Director of the Solicitors Regulation Authority until December 2017.

Until 2013, Jane was Chief Executive of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. She was Deputy Chair of homelessness charity Crisis from 2005 to 2016. Earlier in her career, she held senior roles in HM Inspectorate of Probation and the probation service and as a Director-General at the Home Office where she led a strategic change programme to reform the way the criminal justice system works.

Andrew Kennon – Lay Commissioner:

Andrew worked for 39 years as a Clerk in the House of Commons, retiring in 2017 after five years as Clerk of Committees. He has advised on governance and constitutional law, and has written and lectured on parliamentary and constitutional issues throughout his career. He has worked on all aspects of parliamentary reform and was closely involved in the internal governance of the House of Commons.

Sir Simon Wessely – Lay Commissioner:

Sir Simon is Regius Professor of Psychiatry at the institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at King’s College London. He is an honorary consultant Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital, a civilian consultant advisor in psychiatry to the British Army and Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research. He is President of the Royal Society of Medicine and a former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Simon is also a Trustee of Combat Stress and has campaigned to improve the understanding and image of mental health. He was awarded a knighthood for services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine.

Date: 14/07/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    16/12/2019 at 09:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The JAC Commissioners – who are independent of government and the civil service – have the corporate responsibility for ensuring that the JAC fulfils its role under the 2005 Constitutional Reform Act so that recruitment to the judiciary is made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.

As an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Justice, Commissioners are accountable to Parliament through the Lord Chancellor.

The Commissioners, currently under the leadership of Lord Kakkar, the Chairman of the JAC, have 5 core activities:

  • To attend Commission meetings 10 times a year in London, bringing their experience and judgement to bear on a range of important strategy, governance and policy issues. Each Commissioner is normally expected to also serve on one or 2 sub-Committees or working groups, each meeting up to 5 times a year typically for a couple of hours at a time;
  • To select candidates for judicial appointment based on the selection exercise programme agreed with Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and the Ministry of Justice. The Commission considers all of the information provided, including the assessments of the selection panel convened by the JAC, before making a decision as to who will be recommended to the Lord Chancellor for appointment;
  • One or more Commissioners will also be assigned to oversee each selection process. With the exception of appointments to the High Court or above, they will not generally sit on individual selection panels, but will ensure that the process is followed, and will be part of the process that makes the final recommendation of suitable candidates;
  • To ensure that recruitment for all exercises is open, fair and the best person for the job is recommended for appointment, Commissioners will regularly review the selection processes used to ensure that they are fit for purpose; and
  • To ensure that the JAC undertakes its statutory duty of having regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection. In doing so it is expected that Commissioners take part in external events, including speaking at seminars, conferences and meetings, and making presentations to key interested parties, individuals and groups. The Commissioners work closely with staff at the JAC who undertake the day-to-day process of selecting candidates to the judiciary.

The additional responsibilities of the Commissioner with responsibility for Welsh matters are to:

  • Maintain the values of the JAC, particularly selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition;
  • Oversee a number of selection exercises ensuring that the most suitable candidates are recommended to the Lord Chancellor for appointment;
  • Take part in and influence debates about the strategic objectives, performance and constitutional role of the JAC;
  • Promote the JAC and to have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for selection;
  • Advise the Commission Board on the particular requirements of Wales and on current developments, both in relation to devolution generally and the administration of justice in Wales;
  • Be a link with relevant bodies in Wales, including the relevant parts of the Welsh Government;
  • Have an oversight role in relation to those parts of selection exercises involved with positions in Wales, and involvement in selection exercises in which the Welsh Language is an essential requirement;
  • Chair the Welsh Matters Committee; and
  • Advise on the JAC’s Welsh Language Scheme.

Please note it is not a requirement that candidates live in Wales or speak Welsh.  

Person Specification

Lay Commissioner post:

As per paragraph 8 of the Judicial Appointments Commission Regulations 2013, a lay member of the Commission is a person who lives in England or Wales who has never:

(a) held an office listed in Schedule 14 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 or any equivalent office internationally,
(b) been a member of a panel appointed under regulation 8(1) and (3)(b) and (c) of the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004, or
(c) practised or been employed as a lawyer.

A practising or employed lawyer, includes:

  • a barrister in England and Wales
  • a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales
  • an advocate in Scotland
  • a solicitor in Scotland
  • a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • a solicitor of the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland or
  • a fellow of the Centre of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Please note that if the applicant is a magistrate, he or she is ineligible to be a lay member as he or she holds a listed judicial office.

Tribunal Judge post: salaried judges are preferred for this post

To be eligible for this position, candidates must have at least 3 years’ experience and hold one of the following offices:

  • Judge of the First-tier Tribunal appointment under paragraph 1 (1) of Schedule 2 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
  • Transferred-in judge of the First-tier Tribunals (see section 31 (2) of that Act)
  • Regional Employment Judge appointed under regulation 6(1) of the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulation 2004
  • Employment Judge (England and Wales) appointed under regulation 8(1) and (3)(a) of those Regulations

Disqualification for appointment

There are circumstances in which an individual will not be considered for appointment. These include:

  • Someone who has received a prison sentence or suspended sentence of 3 months or more in the last 5 years;
  • Someone who is the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order;
  • In certain circumstances, those who have had an earlier term of appointment terminated;
  • Anyone who is under a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986; and
  • Anyone who has been removed from trusteeship of a charity.

Essential criteria

We are looking for someone with:

  • Personal integrity, party-political impartiality and a commitment to the highest standards in public life and to the values of the JAC, including appointment on merit and the importance of diversity;
  • An independent mind with excellent judgement and powerful analytical skills, able to interpret complex information and make robust selection decisions which stand up to scrutiny;
  • Credibility and personal authority, such as to command the confidence of key stakeholders and able to chair selection panels and (for Lay Commissioners) to sit as a panel member for the most senior appointments;
  • Excellent listening skills and a collegial approach to decision-making, able to assimilate different Commissioner perspectives and provide considered decisions based upon consensus;
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to ‘read’ others; and
  • Effective communication skills to represent the Commission in meetings and externally.

Additionally for the role of Lay Commissioner with responsibility for Welsh matters:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the particular requirements of Wales. They will advise the Commission Board on these and be a link with relevant bodies in Wales.

Desirable criteria

Lay member post

  • Some knowledge of the administration of justice;
  • A track record of achievement at the highest levels in one of the following areas
    • recruitment and talent management, particularly for the most senior roles
    • communications and public affairs
    • academia
    • diversity and widening representation
    • governance and business management, whether in the public or private sector, including audit and risk

Tribunal Judge post

  • active involvement in organisations engaging with tribunal judges across tribunal jurisdictions;
  • recent and substantial understanding or experience of appointments processes in different environments; and
  • an understanding of the tribunal system more generally, including assignment and deployment policies.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate evidence against these criteria by referring to the responsibilities they have held and demonstrate the abilities they have had – (not necessarily limited to their working or professional lives).

Additional Information

Confirmation of appointment will be subject to basic security clearance checks (BPSS), covering confirmation of identity and right to work in the UK plus a criminal record check. This will involve completion of several paper and electronic forms and can take up to five weeks to process following completion of the forms.

How to Apply

To make an application, please send:

  • A CV (maximum two sides of A4) detailing your qualifications, employment history and any appointments or offices you hold. Please also provide your preferred contact number and email address.
  • A supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) providing evidence against the role criteria and your suitability for the post, including evidence of leadership qualities and a vision for the organisation. Please consider the role and criteria carefully in preparing your statements.
  • Information from selection panels indicate that applications which offer specific and tailored examples against the criteria, making clear the candidate’s role in achieving an outcome are often the strongest. Structuring the statement around the criteria using relevant headings also aids clarity. Guidance on how to write a successful application is provided at Appendix 2.

Supporting Documents – Appendix 3

Please also complete and return the following supporting documents:

  • potential conflicts of interest: You should declare any actual or potential conflict of interest. The selection panel may wish to explore these further with you if you are shortlisted for interview. Conflicts might arise from a variety of sources such as financial interests or share ownership, membership of, or association with, particular bodies or the activities of relatives or partners.       If you need further advice, please contact Anna Payne at PublicAppointmentsTeam@justice.gov.uk


  • referee details – please give names/contact details of 2 referees (who will be contacted if you are shortlisted for interview)
  • diversity monitoring form – information is requested for monitoring purposes only and plays no part in the selection process. It will be kept confidentially and will not be seen by the selection panel. Included in this diversity monitoring form are the requests for:
    • note of public appointments – please list any appointments currently held
    • the political activity declaration form – in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, details of any declared activity will be made public if you are appointed.

Please send your CV, supporting letter and supporting documents to: PublicAppointmentsTeam@justice.gov.uk. We will acknowledge receipt.

Diversity monitoring form Sept 2019
Reference Request form - Sept 2019
JAC Lay Wales Tribunal Commissioner - Candidate Infomation Pack - Updated 141119
Conflict of Interest - Sept 2019
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