Puisne judge

Puisne judges, also known as high court judges, sit in the high court.

Puisne (pronounced puny) Judges are any judges of the High Court other than the heads of each division. The word puisne means junior and is used to distinguish High Court Judges from senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal.

Up to July 2008 Puisne Judges had to have had at least 10 years rights of audience, the right of a lawyer to appear and speak as an advocate in a court case - for all proceedings in the High Court, or to have been a Circuit Judge for at least 2 years. This was changed under section 10(3)(c) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, as amended by para 13 of Schedule 10 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which states; 

'no person shall be qualified for appointment as a puisne judge of the High Court unless-
(i) he satisfies the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis; or
(ii) he is a Circuit Judge who has held that office for at least 2 years.'

The High Court is made up of:

The Queen's Bench Division which consists of about 73 judges;

The Family Division which consists of about 19 judges;

and The Chancery Division which consists of about 18 judges.

Potential High Court Judges have to apply to the Judicial Appointments Commission.

High Court Judges cannot be sacked, their rulings can be overturned by the court of appeal, but this would not lead to the High Court Judge being dismissed.



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