Hundreds of family lawyers were today urged by the president of the family division to consider applying for the judiciary - as a national shortage of deputy district judges and recorders continues.

Sir Andrew McFarlane told family law group Resolution’s flagship conference that the shortage of judges, which has contributed to delays in the family justice system, is well known.

‘We need more deputy district judges and recorders, and full-timers. If you’re interested in becoming a fee-paid judge, then talk to local judges in your local courts. We’re very keen to reach out to engage you.’

McFarlane told the conference he felt the sorts of people becoming a judge are now a ‘wholly different group’ in terms of characteristics.

‘We’re attracting a young cohort of people often with a young family. Quite a lot of full-time judges are appointed on a [70%-90%] contract to fit in with the school holidays. We’re happy and keen for that to happen.’

McFarlane regularly swears in family circuit judges and said they are typically in their 40s. ‘It may suit some of you. Do not dismiss it.’

The conference heard that the selection process for becoming a judge is conducted first by people sifting applications - a process, McFarlane said, that is ‘entirely blind’. Name and gender are ‘scrubbed out’.

McFarlane added: ‘People are just looked at on merit. It does not matter who you are, what you look like, what your age is - we want good people to come forward.’

This article is now closed for comment.

Andrew McFarlane

McFarlane: Sorts of people becoming a judge are now a ‘wholly different group’