The pathway to becoming a Judge is lengthy and demands a great level of hard work but it can lead to a promising career. Counted among the most reputed professions, the position of a judge is on top of the jurisprudential order. The job of a Judge comes with great responsibilities and can be highly demanding. If you are curious to know how to become a judge, then the blog will explore the key aspects of the process.
This Blog Includes:
- What Does a Judge Do?
- How to Become a Judge in India?
- Earning a Law Degree
- Best Law Colleges in India
- Gaining Experience
- Pass a Licensure Exam
- Skills Required
- Books to enhance your Judicial Knowledge
What Does a Judge Do?
Also known as the ‘custodian of the constitution, a Judge is someone who is in a place of authority in courtroom proceedings. The powers and responsibilities of a judge vary across different jurisdictions. Each case brought in front of a judge has numerous values, emotions, and stakes attached to it.
A judge is responsible for deciding the fate of the plaintiff and the person accused. While a few roles are carried out in the courtroom during trials, a lot of the work like seeking opinions, research, discussion of cases are carried out behind curtains in chambers. The fundamental responsibilities of judges include:
- Supervising trials and listen to allegations of prosecutors and defendants, testimonies of witnesses, etc.
- A judge also informs/reminds the defendant/plaintiff of their rights.
- The judge also holds the power to rule on the admissibility of evidence.
- They also instruct the jury and determine whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.
- A judge then decides on the sentences or punishments given to the guilty. They also determine how long will the sentence last.
- The verdict made by the chief justice is final. All these decisions are made based on an intense and meticulous understanding of the trial.
Apart from these responsibilities in a courtroom, a judge is the guardian of the constitution and protector of fundamental rights. This means that the conflicts of any state or central government will be reviewed by the judiciary keeping all rights and laws in check.
Also Read: LLB – Bachelor of Law
How to Become a Judge in India?
The Indian judicial system is an integrated judicial system that compromises the Supreme Court or the apex court at the top (national level) the high courts and the subordinate courts (state level). With each court having a different set of judges, the eligibility and powers for each court are different.
How to Become a Judge in Supreme Court in India?
The supreme or the Apex court is the prime court where the judge has extensive powers and is appointed by the president of India.
Qualifications to Become a Judge in Supreme Court
- The person should be a citizen of India.
- Must have an LLB/LLM degree.
- He/She should have been a judge of a High Court for at least 5 years or he/she should have been an advocate of a High Court for 10 years.
- Apart from these, a person is also eligible if he/she is an exceptional jurist according to the president.
How to Become a Judge in High Court in India?
The high court is the chief of the state judicial administration.
Qualifications to Become a Judge in High Court
- A person must be a citizen of India.
- Must have an LLB/LLM degree.
- He/she should have held a judicial office in India for 10 years or he should have been an advocate of a high court for 10 years.
How to Become a Judge in Subordinate Court in India?
The courts at district levels are called subordinate courts.
Qualifications to Become a Judge in Subordinate Court
- The person must have an LLB/LLM degree.
- He/she must have passed the exam by the state Public Service Commission.
Earning a Law Degree
The primary thing to start a career in Law as a Judge is to earn a Law degree. An undergraduate degree in Law or an LLB degree is a prerequisite for anyone to prosper in the field. A number of reputed law schools around the world offer LLB courses which marks the beginning of your journey to Judgeship. To get admission to prestigious Law schools in India, you need to qualify CLAT exam. But if you are planning to undertake legal studies abroad in top schools like Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge, you need to get a valid score in LSAT exam. Preparing for LSAT can be a daunting task but scoring good in the exam can surely guarantee you the best education in the legal domain.
Given below is the list of top law schools in the world that you can get admission in with a good LSAT score:
- Harvard University
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- Yale University
- Stanford University
- The University of Melbourne
- University of California – Berkeley
- Columbia University
- New York University
Also Read: Law Entrance Exams: India & Abroad
Best Law Colleges in India
Earning a degree in LLB or LLM is the core and initial process of how to become a judge. Many colleges in India that build and train you for being a competent lawyer and judge. The following are a list of top law colleges in India:
- National Law School of India University, Banglore
- National Law University, Delhi
- NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- National Law University, Rajasthan
- The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
- Symbiosis Law School. Pune
- Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi
- The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab
While exploring the question of how to become a Judge, you must know that having work experience is imperative. In a courtroom, Judges are met with a variety of cases that sometimes can challenge them. The slightest carelessness due to inexperience can hamper the process of delivering justice. This is why highly competent candidates are chosen for the job. To ensure that a highly experienced professional is overseeing a case, the candidate has to meet a list of requirements to shoulder the responsibility as a Judge in a courtroom. Most of the Law professionals work as attorneys prior to attaining judgeship. A variety of fields are there that a lawyer can specialize in before applying for the exam for a judgeship. The specializations include Immigration Law, Civil Rights Law, Environmental Law, Corporate Law, Tax Law, and Intellectual Property Law.
Pass a Licensure Exam
Once you have got your bachelor’s in Law degree, the next thing is to qualify for the Judicial Services Exam or the PCS (J)-Provincial Civil Service-Judicial Examination. The competitive exam is taken by state authorities under the supervision of the respective high courts to appoint the members for the lower judiciary. The age limit for the exam varies between 21 to 35 years. The eligibility for the exam is to have a degree in LLB and work experience of a minimum of 7 years. The exam is conducted in three stages which involve Preliminary, Mains and interviews. The questions asked in the Preliminary exam are objective-based while the Mains paper is subjective in nature. In India, around 24 states conduct the exam with each state having its own eligibility criteria. Before applying for the exam, it is advisable to go through the requirements. The syllabus for the licensure exam covers subjective topics like Criminal Law, Penal Code, Constitution besides the topics on General Knowledge, Aptitude and Reasoning and Language.
Acquiring the power and position to strike that gavel requires certain requisites. Educational qualifications and experience are not enough to become a Judge. Owing to the sensitivity of cases and intricacies involved in jurisprudence, the role of a judge is highly critical. The selection of candidates for the judgeship is administered by experts from the field who evaluate their profile on various parameters.
Besides meeting the requirements for the position, the candidate should possess the following skills:
- Critical Reasoning Skills
- Objective Analysis
- Careful Listening Skills
- Unbiased Decision Making
- Reading Comprehension
- Writing Skills
The Salary of a judge depends on the type and the position of the judge. The initial salary for a district-level judge is INR 7,00,000. It further increases with experience and ranges from INR 1,44,840 – INR 2,24,100. The average monthly salary of a supreme court judge and a high court judge is INR 2.50 lakh.
Books to enhance your Judicial Knowledge
Apart from reading every inch of the Indian Constitution and studying it deeply, students must also learn from the ample books written by judges, novelists, and experts in the law.
- On Balance (Leila Seth)
- Landmark Judgments That Changed India (Ashok K. Ganguly)
- How Judges Think (Richard Posner)
- The Trial (Franz Kafka)
- The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years (John Paul Stevens)
We hope this blog answered the question – how to become a Judge. A dream career for many but pursued by few who are strong-willed and determined to stand by justice. If you have high ambitions then you are the right person for this job. We at Leverage Edu help students achieve their dream careers, call us and book a FREE session today!