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Judge marshalling is a lesser-known form of work experience that looks great on any legal CV. There are different types of marshalling schemes aimed at aspiring lawyers wishing to learn more about litigation and to pursue a career at the Bar.

They’re also aimed at legal practitioners seeking an insight into a career in judicial office and the work of a judge. This page outlines the different types of schemes available for those considering judge marshalling.

What is Judge Marshalling?

Judge Marshalling is a form of work experience that allows a participant to accompany a judge at a particular court for a short period of time. The opportunity to marshal a judge in court for a few days is generally available for any university law students wishing to learn about trial processes and advocacy skills through watching barristers or solicitors in action. During the placement, you will be given tasks such as reading skeleton arguments and taking notes as the trial runs.

Doing some judge marshalling gives you a great opportunity to get a sense of how barristers or solicitors who have higher rights of audience conduct litigation. It is particularly beneficial if you are considering studying the LPC or BPTC in the future, as both courses have civil litigation and criminal litigation as core modules.

How to Apply

If you’re considering judge marshalling for the first time, the first step would be to contact your local courts via telephone or email and enquire about the opportunity to marshal a judge. Then, you will be advised on whether judge marshalling is available and the instructions for applying. The application procedure tends to be sending a CV and a cover letter for consideration.

Once you have marshalled a judge, you can discuss your experiences on your applications to and interviews with law firms and chambers and talk about how your marshalling experience has informed your decision to apply for other formal work experience (e.g. vacation schemes and mini-pupillage involving litigation work).

Judge Marshalling Scheme for BPTC Students

Current BPTC students will be a member of one of the Four Inns of Court in England and Wales, and you will be able to apply for a marshalling scheme at the Inn you’re registered with.

Only current BPTC students are eligible to apply, however, Gray’s Inn also welcomes law students who are either in their final year of university and a current GDL student, provided that you are a student member of the Gray’s Inn. The Inner Temple also invites those who are doing pupillage to apply.

The scheme offers students a valuable opportunity to spend time with a judge for up to a week. During the period, you will learn about the role of the judiciary and discuss with the judge case proceedings and advocacy styles, which will contribute significantly to your career at the Bar. If you are lucky, you might also be invited back to the judge’s chambers for a more detailed insight into his or her work as a judge.

For details of applying, refer to the Inn of Court you are registered with.

Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme

The Judicial Work Shadowing Scheme is managed by the Judicial Office, which provides eligible legal practitioners who are considering a career in judicial office insight into the work of a judge, both in and out of court.

The shadowing opportunity will last two days and may be completed within a period of six months of dates being arranged between you and the judge, and there are different judges to choose from (e.g. Circuit Judge, Tribunal Judge).

However, due to the high demand for the scheme, it can take a while to arrange the placement. Meanwhile, the judiciary encourages potential participants who are considering applying for judicial appointment to consider sitting in a public hearing.

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