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There are nearly 42,000 judicial office holders in England and Wales - judges, tribunal members and magistrates. The judiciary itself includes the Court of Appeal and Law Lords, High Court, Circuit and District Judges, Recorders and Justices of the Peace (or magistrates).


Employment Tribunal and EAT Statistics
Department: Justice
This report presents annual statistical information on Employment Tribunals (ET) and Employment Appeal Tribunals (EAT) in Great Britain.
Firearm Certificate Statistics, Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Statistics relating to firearm and shot gun certificates under the Firearms Act, 1968.
Judicial and Court Statistics
Department: Justice
These annual reports relate to the criminal and civil business of the courts in England and Wales for whose administration the Ministry of Justice is responsible. They also cover the work of some associated offices including the Office of the Public Guardian and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Statistics relating to Northern Ireland courts are available separately from the Northern Ireland Court Service.
Statistics of completed selection exercises and recommendations for judicial appointment showing diversity
Department: Justice
Published by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) - Half-yearly publication presenting the progress of candidates through the selection process for judicial office broken down by gender, ethnicity, disability and professional background.
Statistics of the Employment Tribunals selection and recommendations for appointment exercise, showing diversity
Department: Justice
This report presents comprehensive statistics on the judicial selection process and recommendations for Employment Tribunal Members. This exercise ran from August 2009 to January 2010. Most judicial recruitment exercises are run by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). However, Employment Tribunal Members are not listed in schedule 14 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2006, and this exercise was therefore able to be run by the Tribunals.
Tribunal Service annual statistics publication
Department: Justice
Annual report on Tribunal performance statistics including volumetrics and performance indicators.
Tribunal Service quarterly statistics
Department: Justice
Quarterly report on Tribunal performance statistics including volumetrics and performance indicators.

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The England and Wales judicial system is a result of 1,000 years of legal evolution. The judges and magistrates who sit to pass judgement in court have been independent in the way they work for centuries, but as of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 judicial independence is now officially enshrined in law to enhance accountability, public confidence and effectiveness.

The Judiciary of England and Wales website includes information on the history of the judiciary, the roles and responsibilities of the different members of the judiciary, and the latest court judgments. Summary statistics on the number of judicial office holders in post are also published (including breakdowns by gender and ethnicity).

Other areas relevant to the judiciary are the responsibility of separate bodies:

  • the independent Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) was formed in April 2006 and has responsibility for the selection of judicial office holders

  • the Office of Judicial Complaints (OJC), also created in April 2006, seeks to ensure that all judicial disciplinary issues are dealt with consistently, fairly and efficiently

  • the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) is directly responsible for training full (salaried) and part-time (fee-paid) judges in England and Wales

The Ministry of Justice itself is responsible for funding and administering judges' pay and pensions and setting their terms and conditions of service. It also separately collects information about judicial sitting days and the number of magistrates.

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Technical Data

Information on the number of judges in post is collected and published by the Judicial Office. The data are held on the bespoke Judicial database, which is a live data management database that records personal details as well as information on items such as appointments, authorisations and training.

The judicial sitting days data are collected on a manual form, and returned monthly from the courts to the Ministry of Justice. Summary figures are published once a year in the ‘Judicial and Court Statistics’ command paper.

Details of the data collection in the separate bodies mentioned above can be found using the links under the Other websites & related statistics section.

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  • Circuit Judge

    Circuit Judges may deal solely with civil, family or criminal work, or divide their time between the three. Most Crown Court cases are heard by Circuit Judges, although less complex or serious matters may be dealt with by fee-paid Recorders. On the civil and family side, Circuit Judges deal with a variety of cases and may specialise in particular areas of law, for example, commercial. They generally hear claims worth over 15,000 or those involving greater complexity or importance.

  • District Judge

    District judges are full-time judges who deal with the majority of cases in the county courts of England and Wales and are therefore, heavily involved in civil and family proceedings.

  • District Judge (magistrates’ court)

    The role of a district judge (magistrates' courts) is to complement the work of the magistracy. They are legally qualified, salaried judges and usually deal with the longer and more complex matters that come before magistrates' courts.

  • High Court Judge

    The High Court judges currently appointed in England and Wales deal with the more complex and difficult cases. They usually sit in London but they also travel to major court centres around the country. They try serious criminal cases, important civil cases and assist the Lords Justices to hear criminal appeals.

  • Magistracy

    Justices of the Peace (also known as magistrates) are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Sovereign. Magistrates do not need to be legally qualified, but a qualified legal adviser is available to the bench at all times. Magistrates do not require legal training. However, all magistrates must undertake a compulsory programme of practical training which prepares them to sit in court.

  • Recorder

    Recorders are fee-paid, part-time judges. For many, it is the first step on the judicial ladder to appointment to the circuit bench. Recorders' jurisdiction is broadly similar to that of a circuit judge, but they generally handle less complex or serious matters coming before the court.

  • Tribunal

    Tribunals form part of the civil justice system. There are many different types of tribunal, each with a focus on a specific area of law, for example, employment law or immigration cases. Tribunals usually sit as a panel, incorporating a legally qualified tribunal chairman, as well as panel members with specific areas of expertise. There is no jury and a tribunal chairman does not have the power to imprison an unsuccessful party. Their main role is to try and bring about a successful resolution of the difficulties, and in some cases, to make a decision on the level of compensation or redress to be awarded to the successful party.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Economics and Statistics Division

Email: statistics.enquiries@justice.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 333 43080

Ministry of Justice 8th floor Zone A 102 Petty France London SW1H 9AJ

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