Young barristers decline to go for posts as judicial assistants

Letters encouraging young barristers to apply for 12 new judicial assistant posts have been circulated to all chambers by the Bar Council, due to a shortage of applications.

Nominations for 12 young barristers and solicitors to assist Court of Appeal Judges in clearing the backlog of cases have to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor's Department by 2 December.

By the end of last week the Bar Council had received only half a dozen applications. The Law Society refused to reveal how many applications it had received and there was confusion over the deadline date.

Applicants were told that the final deadline was last Friday, but Suzanne Burn, secretary to the Civil Litigation Committee, confirmed that it would accept applications until the end of this week.

Master of the Rolls Lord Woolf, who appointed Lord Justice Otton to set up the scheme, said last week: “We must get the very brightest young people to apply and persuade senior lawyers that it will be a beneficial exercise.”

Trainee solicitor at Stephenson Harwood, Jenny Wigley, who has applied for the scheme, said: “This is an exciting and unique opportunity to see cases from a judicial perspective and gain experience of the appeals process.”