The Preparatory Committee has started the process for recruitment of the UPC’s legal and technical judges by publishing on its website (here) vacancy notices in English, French and German. Applications must be submitted by 4 July 2016. This is the formal application process and new candidates may apply as well as those selected in 2014 after responding to an initial call for expressions of interest. Legally qualified judges will be appointed to either the Court of First Instance (comprising central, regional and local divisions) or the Court of Appeal, and there are full-time and part-time posts. Technically qualified judges will be appointed to the Court of First Instance but will also be available to the Court of Appeal, and these posts are part-time. Net monthly salaries (full-time equivalent) are €11,000 in the Court of First Instance and €12,000 in the Court of Appeal. All the posts have a 6 year term.

The information on the selection process explains that candidates must submit a completed Application Form, their CV (using the Europass CV template) and any other relevant documents (e.g. judgments, an opinion from the President of their current court on their skills) and, based on this information, the Advisory Committee will select candidates for interview at the end of 2016. Then, as set out in the UPC Agreement and the UPC Statute (Annex 1 to the Agreement), the Advisory Committee will present a list of the most suitable candidates to the Administrative Committee, which will appoint the necessary number of judges (while ensuring the best legal and technical expertise and a balanced composition of the UPC on as broad a geographical basis as possible). Actual appointment is expected in early 2017 (depending on when the UPC comes into operation) and an appointed candidate must be a national of a state that has ratified the UPC Agreement.

The information on the selection process also publishes the eligibility criteria (set out in the Agreement and Statute). One of the eligibility criteria is that a legally qualified judge must possess the qualifications required for appointment to judicial offices in a Contracting Member State (the information clarifies that this means the Contracting Member State the applicant is a national of). Such national eligibility criteria for each state have been published by Preparatory Committee, with a disclaimer that the information was provided solely by each state and the Committee is not responsible for its accuracy or completeness. That information also includes any age limit for appointment; if there is no specified age limit, then the general age limit for appointment at the UPC applies, which is 67 years. Another of the eligibility criteria is a good command of at least one of the official EPO languages, i.e. English, French or German. The information on the selection process states that “…candidates fluent in more than one official EPO language will have an advantage in comparison to candidates fluent in one official EPO language only”, and also that “…international experience as well as a readiness to move or to travel frequently will be considered an asset”’.