What makes an effective judge?

Aim: To recognise that there are a broad range of views about the traits, skills and knowledge required of an effective judge.


Quality Cards (Template 1) Quality Cards - Template1.docx [28KB] Quality Cards - Template1.pdf [61KB]
Qualities of a judge (Template 2) Qualities of a judge - Template2.docx [25KB] Qualities of a judge - Template2.pdf [40KB]

A small number of disputes end up in a court before a judge with specialist knowledge and experience. Opinions differ about how judges should be selected, by whom they should be selected, and for what reasons.


  1. On a piece of paper draw a judge
  2. As a group brainstorm and list what you think of when you hear the word ‘judge’.
  3. Imagine you are on a committee to appoint a new judge. In small groups:
    • generate a list of qualities that you think the new judge should have
    • choose six from your list and record them on the blank quality cards at the end of Template 1
    • look at all the qualities listed on the cards in Template 1
    • in your small group discuss and debate which qualities from Template 1 fit into each of the categories listed on Template 2
    • copy the qualities chosen for each category onto Template 2
    • share your small group’s responses with the large group.
  1. If you are interested in exploring the selection process for judges refer to
    How judges are selected (Fact sheet1)
  2. Reflect on:
    • the similarities and differences between the words written for the brainstorm in question 2 and the qualities your group recorded on the blank cards in Template 1
    • the similarities and differences between the ideas shared back from each small group.
  1.  Answer the following questions:
    • Why do you think that there were similarities and differences?
    • What did you find easy/hard when you were working in a group?
    • How did you feel when some else had a different view?
    • Complete this sentence: An effective judge is someone who ...
    • What are your personal views about the processes of election and appointment that are used for selecting judges?