Solicitors should find it easier to apply for judicial appointments thanks to an online application system which is about to go live, the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has said.

The new website supports changes to the application process designed to make it more friendly to solicitors.

For example, rather than requiring applicants to give references at the beginning of the application, these will now be asked for ‘as late as possible in the process’, Stuart Burrows, JAC assistant director of policy, told the Gazette. Meanwhile, people applying for their first judicial post will no longer have to give a judge as a referee.

Requirements for character references have also been ended, with the emphasis now on the candidate’s work as a legal professional.

The Law Society, which had argued that the reference rules deterred solicitors from applying, welcomed the changes.

President Andrew Caplen (pictured) said: ‘We would like to see more solicitors successfully applying for judicial appointment. Any changes that encourage solicitors to apply and make the process as simple as possible, are welcomed.’ The new site will also offer a ‘self-evaluation tool’ through which anyone can find out whether they meet the essential criteria for judicial appointments.