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Agreed by members of Southern Counties Committee

The Committee, those closely associated with running the show and their family will not exhibit at SCCA

A successful show is almost entirely dependent on the judging panel and to be able to book the judges we need and this, in turn, is dependent on Committee members bringing judges to meetings in plenty of time. However, please remember that there will always be occasions that the Secretary has to take an emergency decision when a judge drops out at the last minute or is turned down and no-one has been suggested for that breed. The secret is to ensure that each committee member has to hand a range of judges identified as being suitable.


Southern Counties operates a ‘future recommendation’ system for selecting judges. The procedure is well established and is used by a number of Championship Shows. Judges, whether specialist or non specialist, are recommended - usually three years in advance of the date of the show.


The committee has also recommended a Group judges panel from which judges are selected for BIS, groups, special stakes classes and varieties. Those judges may also be asked for specific breeds when inevitable gaps occur and they are on the judging list of that breed.


Committee members of SCCA are asked to research judges for their allocated groups.


The basic requirement is that judges recommended are well qualified (if they are first time judges), have the confidence of the breed and will draw a good entry. It is helpful if nominated judges are on breed judging lists but this is not a requirement. As a society we accept that there are some judges who will get a good entry but are not on breed lists for political reasons although it should also be noted that some will not be on lists because they genuinely do not have the confidence of exhibitors.


It is essential that no one is asked specifically whether they are free to judge or told that their name will be put forward. If the person involved mistakenly believes that they have been offered an appointment they begin to wonder why a formal letter has not been received or may even turn down another appointment because they think they are judging for us. Even when a judge has been recommended for a particular year, they should not be informed for the complexity of the invitation process is such that it must remain flexible.


The key element is that the committee member has researched their nominations. This is often best achieved by asking a range of experienced exhibitors at the ringside for their opinions. For instance valid questions might be:

  • Is the judge on that day doing a good job?

  • Who might do a better one?

  • Do exhibitors like non-specialists or specialists?

  • Which type of judge tends to get the best entry?

  • Are there any judges about ready to give tickets?

  • Have any experienced judges been overlooked during the previous few years?

  • Which judges are considered to have judged too regularly?


Part of the research needs to be from past catalogues, from the Kennel Club Judges (and FCI) database and from breed club lists many of which are now available through breed club websites. Whatever the exhibitors say, a non-specialist might actually get a better entry because all the exhibitors might enter while only a proportion will enter under a specialist (although in some breeds the reverse is the case).


It is important:

  • Not to guess

  • Not to put someone forward who is a friend or colleague but who is not otherwise well qualified

  • Not to put forward someone who has recently been responsible for getting you an appointment!


Names may be submitted direct to the Committee at a committee meeting or to the Secretary at any time when the Secretary will review them and inform the proposer if there any problems associated with the name (a judge may have judged the breed at Southern Counties within the last few years, for instance) and bring them before the committee at a meeting or by email to ensure that there is committee agreement.


It has been the practice, under normal circumstances, for the Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, Chief Steward and Treasurer only to propose judges for their own breeds although they often second judges when proposed. It is therefore essential that all committee members should be actively engaged in the research and selection of judges.


Committee members may also propose judges for breeds outside their own sector where they have a special interest or knowledge of the breed. In general, the Secretary invites the national or local breed club to make suggestions for judges of breeds (three are requested) where tickets are not on offer. This seems to work well.


David Cavill (Chairman)

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