Solicitors who battled through technical difficulties in the first round of becoming a judge are understood to have experienced further problems competing in the second stage of the recruitment process.

More than 2,000 practitioners participating in the Judicial Appointment Commission’s latest recorder competition had to complete a ‘scenario test’ on Tuesday in a bid to reach the next round. However the exercise has been plagued with technical glitches. 

The Criminal Bar Association posted on social media site Twitter this week that the ‘recorder test debacle continues’. The association reported that tests were being emailed to some candidates several minutes prior to scheduled start times, resulting in some of the allocated time being used before the test was started. There were also reports of some applicants not receiving emails, the association said.

In a statement to the Gazette, the JAC said it was ‘aware that some candidates were concerned about the early or late receipt of their scenario test email and the time available to complete the test’.

The commission said: ‘In such cases, where candidates were in contact with the JAC, they were reassured about the timings involved and when their time slot would start. The JAC will ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged in proceeding to the next stage as a result of these issues.’

An update posted on the commission’s website stated that it was also brought to the JAC’s attention that material related to the scenario used - but not the test questions set for candidates - had appeared on a section of the JAC website.

‘The material was removed immediately and it was quickly established that it had only been accessed by a small number of users,’ the commission’s update stated.

The latest issues follow problems experienced by applicants in the first round of the competition last month because of a ‘technical failure’.

For those completing the second round on Tuesday, the test was open from 6am to 12pm, and 4pm to 10pm. Candidates were allocated a time slot in line with their preferences. They had 70 minutes to complete the exercise.

The tests will be marked by independent panels, each comprising a lay JAC member and a judge. Candidates will know if they have reached the next round of the competition by mid-April.

The next stage of the competition involves a telephone assessment and self-assessment. Those who are successful will be invited to a selection day in July. Final selections will be made in November.