Circuit Judges are senior judges in England and Wales who sit in the Crown Court, County Courts and certain specialized sub-divisions of the High Court of Justice, such as the Technology and Construction Court. The modern office of Circuit Judge was created by the Courts Act 1971. Circuit Judges sit below High Court Judges but above District Judges. They may be appointed to sit as Deputy High Court Judges. Some are also eligible to sit in the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, although they are the more senior Circuit Judges.
Formerly, there were six circuits in England and Wales, with jurisdictions covering the Midlands, the North of England, North-East England, South-East England, the West of England, and Wales & Cheshire (or 'Wales & Chester'). With the creation of HM Courts Service in April 2005, these original six circuits are now seven: the Midlands, North-East England, North-West England, South-East England, South-West England, London, Wales.
Before July 2008, Circuit Judges could only be drawn from barristers with at least 10 years' standing. Currently, the requirement is 7 years' standing in the case of barristers and 5 years' standing in the case of recorders. Although Circuit Judges typically retire at the age of 72, if desired, they may work until the age of 75.
See also circuit.