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, though they are the more senior Circuit Judges.
There were six circuits in England and Wales: the Midland, Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern, Western and Wales and Chester. On April 1 2005, with the creation of Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS), the six circuits were replaced by seven regions which are now: Midlands, North West, North East, South East, London, South West and Wales.
Formerly, Circuit Judges could only be drawn from barristers of at least 10 years' standing. However, in 2004, calls for increased diversity among the judiciary were recognised and the qualification period was changed so that, as of 21 July 2008, a potential Circuit Judge must satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 7-year basis.