David Page, an immigration judge on the western circuit, was one of 850 lawyers who applied last year to become a deputy district judge in magistrates’ courts for 20 days a year. However, he failed to make it through to the second round of the application procedure, a selection day, after sitting “two 40-minute back-to-back speed writing exams on magistrates’ general knowledge”.

All 850 applicants sat the test, with most of them being put up in hotels overnight.  Page, who would not have received any extra pay for the role, said: “I am not complaining that I didn’t get the job.  I’m seeking a declaration that the method they used was inherently unfair and incapable of identifying the best candidates. The test was simple but there was not enough time to write the answers. The Treasury Solicitor told me they don’t consider anything but the test results.”

Page, who has been a part-time judge since 1999 and sat full-time since 2002, said: “I have 23 years’ relevant experience, but with this test they could get the least experienced people.” A JAC spokesman said: “We can’t comment on individual cases.”