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Role details

Online Procedure Rule sub-committee member

Application deadline 15 December 2023


Online Procedure Rule Committee
Sponsor department
Ministry of Justice
Professional, Scientific and Technical
Technology / Digital, Legal, Regulation, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
Length of term
2 years
Application deadline
6pm on 15 December 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 November 2023

  2. Application deadline

    6pm on 15 December 2023

  3. Sifting date

    8 January 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    29 January 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction from the Chair

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of one of the sub-committees of the Online Procedure Rule Committee (OPRC).

We are looking for new members to join the first two sub-committees to be created by the OPRC. The first of these will consider data and technology, and the second will consider the OPRC’s approach to governance, rules and sector liaison. We expect this structure to develop further over time.    

The OPRC is a new rule making committee, formed in June 2023, which will play a critical role in further developing a digital justice system. It will be a key enabler for the shift towards a more integrated, efficient digital approach to justice.

The OPRC will develop and shape a new and innovative approach to rule-making appropriate for delivering digital justice. Its work will support the use of innovative methods of resolving disputes and help define the operation of pre-action dispute resolution portals. It will consider procedure applicable across the Civil, Family and Tribunal jurisdictions.

The OPRC consists of 6 members: 3 judicial members appointed by the Lord Chief Justice, and 3 expert members appointed by the Lord Chancellor via the public appointments process:

  • Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls
  • Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division
  • Sir Keith Lindblom, Senior President of Tribunals
  • Brett Dixon, legal expert
  • Sarah Stephens, expert in the lay advice sector
  • Gerard Boyers, technology expert.  

In line with the jurisdictional rule committees, the OPRC intends to allow a proportion of the detailed scoping work to be undertaken at sub-committee level. As the OPRC is a new rule committee the initial phase of work will be focused on further defining how the OPRC will fulfil its statutory duties and its role in the development of digital justice. 

In the first instance the aim of the sub-committees will be to develop high level guiding principles, which will inform further refinement of the sub-committee structure and define initial deliverables. It is therefore possible that a further refined sub-committee structure may develop over time.

This is a rare opportunity to join a new sub-committee structure and influence its direction as it is established. You will be providing expert advice to inform decisions on the future direction of the OPRC.

If you have further questions about this post, please contact

Role description

Members will be expected to play an active role in the OPRC sub-committees. The OPRC is a small committee, so a significant proportion of the OPRC work will be conducted through its sub-committees. The sub-committees will be required to regularly present their work to the main committee in order to inform decisions going forward.

The initial role of the sub-committees will be to develop high-level guiding principles. These will inform how the OPRC will approach its work in each of the sub-committee areas of focus and will be used to develop more a detailed workplan for each sub-committee. 

In particular, members will be expected to:

  • Engage fully in sub-committee meetings, giving full consideration to the issues and taking account of all relevant factors.
  • Attend approximately 10 sub-committee meetings a year and participate in some of the main OPRC monthly meetings.
  • Read and consider papers outside of meetings. Keep abreast of paperwork and issues relating to the work of the OPRC. Candidates will be expected to put time aside ahead of meetings to review paperwork.

From time-to-time issues of a confidential nature may arise during Committee work. The duty of confidentiality obliges members to respect the confidentiality of such work. Confidential information that members obtain during the course of membership of the Committee must not be shared by committee members except to the extent permitted by the Chair.

Organisation description

The OPRC is constituted by the Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022 to govern the practice and procedure for specified kinds of proceedings. For specified proceedings the OPRC has the same general powers as any of the existing civil, family or tribunal rule committees, though it may apply its rules across Civil, Family and Tribunal jurisdictions.  

In addition to these more conventional powers, the Act provides the OPRC with further powers in three respects: to require the proceedings to be online in appropriate cases, support the use of innovative methods of resolving disputes, and set standards around the use of pre-action dispute resolution portals.

The new Online Procedure Rules created by the OPRC may require that aspects of specified types of proceedings should be initiated, progressed or disposed of by electronic means and can also require parties to participate in hearings by electronic means.

The OPRC will also set standards for dispute resolution undertaken before any court claim is issued. The OPRC will establish data and process standards whereby cases from portals which meet these standards can transfer seamlessly into the court system if they are not resolved. This will support the integration of the justice system and is a key part of the move towards a more joined up approach to justice.

The OPRC will create the Online Procedure Rules which will be made via a Statutory Instrument laid before Parliament. The OPRC’s work will include ensuring that these rules are easily navigable by the user, accessible and fair. It will exercise its powers having regard to the needs of people who require assistance with online procedures.

The role of the sub-committees will be crucial for the OPRC to achieve its purpose. The OPRC will be initially establishing two sub-committees:

1)    The Data and Technology Committee

The committee will be responsible for developing guiding principles and developing proposals on the role of the OPRC in considering the use and management of data and the harnessing of technology. These will be considered in the context of HMCTS systems as well as looking wider across the dispute resolution landscape.

2)    Governance, rules and liaison Committee

The committee will be responsible for developing guiding principles on the role of the OPRC in governing the electronic transfer of information between HMCTS and dispute resolution providers. It will also consider how the Online Procedure Rules will be developed and how these rules will interact with the standard applicable rules.

Central to this will be collaboration with the existing jurisdictional rule committees. This committee will also develop proposals on how the OPRC can take forward wider liaison across the sector through its sub-committees.

The OPRC is a statutory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.

Day-to-day operation of the OPRC is undertaken by the Committee secretariat, which is part of a team of policy officials at the Ministry of Justice.

Person specification

Essential criteria

·       We are looking for representation from the following sectors: Lawtech, public user groups, academics, ombuds, online dispute resolution providers and legal practitioners with experience in dispute resolution, regulation or data protection.

·       The ability to contribute to, and influence, sub-committee meetings

·       Commitment to putting the needs of users at the centre of the rule making process 

·       Appreciation of the need to ensure the needs of digitally disadvantaged users are met

·       Good industry networks 

·       An interest in justice, law, court procedure, and digital services 

·       The ability to analyse and debate complex issues 

·       Effective interpersonal and communication skills including demonstrable ability to engage with stakeholders 

·       An understanding of diversity issues 

Demonstrable ability to express complicated matters in plain English

Desirable criteria

·       Desire to be creative in shaping new ideas

·       Excellent time management skills

·       Experience of helping users navigate court processes

·       Experience of working to deliver user-facing systems and/or integration between different systems

·       Experience in driving standardisation

·       Knowledge and understanding of high-volume/consumer digital systems

Application and selection process

How to apply

Please submit a CV and covering letter explaining your interest in and suitability for the role to by 18:00 on Friday 15 December 2023. Please indicate which sub-committee you would like to be considered for, although noting that the structure may be subject to change in the future.

Your covering letter should not be more than 1 page.

Please also complete the conflict of interest and reference request forms and provide alongside your CV and covering letter.  

The Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.

Overview of the application process

The Assessment Panel will be made up of representatives from the OPRC, the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.

Applicants will be assessed against the eligibility criteria. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview with interviews anticipated to take place the week beginning 29 January 2024.

The interview will explore applicants’ experience and skills. It will offer an opportunity to explore any potential value to the sub-committee arising from an applicant’s personal and professional history.


Interviews may take place via MS Teams, and will be confirmed on invitation to interview. If you accept an invitation to interview, we will take two references in advance of the interview.  By providing the details of two referees you are consenting to us approaching them in this way.

If you cannot attend an interview on the date offered, please advise us as soon as you can. It may be possible to arrange an alternative date at the discretion of the Assessment Panel (AP). 

At the interview, the AP will explore your experience and expertise to determine whether you meet the essential criteria for the role.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The panel will be composed of a representative of the OPRC, a judicial member and a member from the Ministry of Justice

Eligibility criteria

The Government expects all sub-committee members to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);
  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • You have any employment restrictions, or limit on your permitted stay in the UK.

You should not be employed in the UK Civil Service.

Please note that judicial representation on the OPRC sub-committees will be sought through a separate process.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 
  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for.

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life. These are:
  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Before you apply you should consider carefully: 

  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported;  which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Sub-committee members will serve for an amount of time to be agreed with the sub-committee Chair(s) at the time of their appointment. As a guide, we would expect this to be for around 2 years. As described above, the structure of the sub-committees is subject to change. In the event that the sub-committee is disbanded and replaced with a sub-committee with a different remit, members will be given the option of continuing membership in the new sub-committee.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

The role is unremunerated but reasonable out-of-pocket expenses (including travel and overnight accommodation) will be payable.

Travel and subsistence allowances may be payable on the same basis as that applicable to civil servants where the post holder is required to travel to other locations or stay overnight in the course of their duties.

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
If you have a complaint about any aspect of the way your application has been handled, we would like to hear from you. In the first instance please email the OPRC secretariat at

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Your personal Information 

In accordance with the Public Appointments Order in Council 2019(4)(5), we will process your application in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Ministry of Justice’s Information Charter, which can be found at 

In accordance with the Public Appointments Order in Council 2019(4)(5), we will process your application in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Ministry of Justice’s Information Charter, which can be found at

Your data will be held securely and access will be restricted to those dealing with your application or involved in the recruitment process. Your data may also be shared with the Commissioner for Public Appointments and other relevant government departments, including the Cabinet Office, as part of a complaint investigation or review of the recruitment process. Cabinet Office will handle data in accordance with their Privacy Notice.   Your data may also be disclosed as required by law or in connection with legal proceedings.

Your data will be stored for up to two years and processed for the purpose of the recruitment process, diversity monitoring and, if successful, your personal record. If appointed, your data will be stored for the duration of your tenure and may be shared with the organisation to which you are appointed, unless you specifically request us not to.

Should you wish your data to be removed from our records, please contact

Contact details

If you have further questions about this post, please contact