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Appointment of judges at limited and open shows and for non CC classes at championship shows from 2020

Following the recent announcement that the transition period for the Judges Competency Framework (JCF) is to begin in 2020, a year later than originally planned, the Kennel Club has issued new guidance on the appointment of judges from 1st January 2020 onwards.

This guidance, based on that issued in November 2017, is being reissued to clarify the revised JCF start date and the effect on judging contracts which have been confirmed for 2019.

This postponement of the start of the transition period has come about due to the Kennel Club merging its JCF and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) IT system projects, which will enable Kennel Club services to become more modern and customer focussed. It is hoped that the later start date for the JCF transition period will give societies more time in which to adjust to the new regulations.

Anyone who accepted a judging appointment for 2019, based on previous guidance, stating that they were qualified for and intended to be registered at JCF Level 2 at the time of undertaking the appointment, is advised that they will still be able to judge at the show in question provided that the full three-part contract using the recommended wording was in place on 10th April 2018.

The new guidance on the appointment of judges from 1st January 2020 onwards is as follows:

Regulations will be introduced with effect from 1st January 2020 to confirm that no person should be appointed who has never judged before, unless they have undertaken the new Kennel Club mandatory requirements. All aspiring judges must have completed the introductory education and training. Anyone hoping to judge for the first time as of 1st January 2020, and those with some judging experience but not yet on a breed club B list, should now work towards meeting all of the JCF Level 1 requirements, which can be found at

Eligibility to judge during transition period 1st January 2020 – 31st December 2021:

Non CC Classes at championship shows, any number of classes

Limited general and group shows

Breed club shows – open and limited, any number of classes

Open general and group canine society shows

Details of a CC judge’s experience can be found on the Find a Judge facility at

The IT system supporting the JCF is under development at the moment. As soon as it is available, judges will be able to apply for their licence and register their account.  In the meantime, as judges work towards their levels, they should retain their evidence so this can be uploaded to the system when ready.

Judges contract wording for shows up to 31st December 2021

The Kennel Club strongly advises that inviting societies include the following wording in judging contracts for this period for the types of show listed above: ‘In accepting this appointment, I confirm that I comply with the requirements of the Judges Competency Framework or Kennel Club Regulation F21b.’

Championship Shows – Challenge Certificates, groups and best in show appointments for shows up to 31st December 2021

Appointments at championship shows held up to 31st December 2021 are unaffected by these changes. For CC, group and best in show appointments for shows held on or after 1st January 2022, societies will be able to submit nominations only for judges at the appropriate JCF level. 

Championship Shows – Challenge Certificates, groups and best in show appointments for shows on or after 1st January 2022

The CC allocation is not yet awarded for 2022, and show societies are strongly advised not to appoint judges for 2022 or beyond until the allocation is announced. Guidance will be issued at that stage. Nominations will be accepted only for judges at the appropriate JCF level.

Jeff Horswell, JCF working party chairman, said: “While the start of the transition period for the JCF has been put back by a year, there is no plan to alter the full rollout date which remains at 1st January 2022. The Kennel Club has been encouraged by the level of interest expressed at question and answer sessions and other events held in recent months and we are keen to emphasise that, under this new system, judging at general open and limited shows will remain as relevant and important as ever.

“The selection of judges under the JCF will be made easier by the fact that all judges at all levels will be listed on the online Find a Judge facility. The Kennel Club strongly recommends that JCF Level 2 judges are chosen for these shows wherever possible, as these people will have taken and passed a breed-specific exam. It is envisaged that this in turn will help to increase entries, as will the breed club supported classes at open shows.”