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Legal Services

Law Commission: Lawyer, Criminal Law Team – 44914
£55,487 - £66,700
Westminster

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We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity

Overview

The Law Commission for England and Wales is the statutory body set up under the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reform where it is needed.

We are looking to recruit up to two exceptional lawyers to join the Law Commission’s criminal law team. The team’s work in recent years has been high profile and important. We have recently concluded work on the protection of official data, misconduct in public office and sentencing procedure. The team’s current work includes projects on intimate image abuse, communications offences, hate crime and the confiscation of the proceeds of crime. More information about each of these projects is available on the Law Commission’s website.

We are seeking applicants with general experience of criminal law, to work on current projects, and new projects which the team may take on as part of the Commission’s 14th Programme of Law Reform (on which we are currently consulting).

We are primarily looking for lawyers with strong research, analytical and writing skills, who would be able to pick up legal and policy issues quickly.

These roles are an excellent opportunity for lawyers to gain law reform, policy, drafting and stakeholder engagement experience. They are offered on fixed term contract for 12 or 18 months. Subject to business need, the fixed term could be extended, or the post could be converted to a permanent position.

The successful candidate will start as soon as the candidate’s terms of employment and Government security checks allow. Suitable candidates who are not successful will be held on a reserve list for future posts. Other posts may be available in the next 12 months, depending on the work of the criminal law team.

Background

The Law Commission’s aims are:

  • To ensure that the law is as fair, modern, simple and as cost-effective as possible
  • To conduct research and consultations with a view to making recommendations for reform for consideration by Parliament
  • To codify the law, eliminate anomalies, repeal obsolete and unnecessary enactments and reduce the number of separate statutes

The Law Commission is an independent non-departmental body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. Further information about the Law Commission and its work can be obtained from its website at www.lawcom.gov.uk/.

A job description and outline of required skills are set out below. 

Job Description

The main duties of this post are:

  • Working on one or more law reform projects with the Commissioner, the Team Manager, and (where relevant) other team lawyers and research assistants. This includes:
  • Assisting with the promotion and implementation of recommendations from completed projects, contributing to the consideration of new project work and working on other legal issues as they arise.
  • Engaging with stakeholders (both inside and outside Government).
  • Effectively managing one or more Research Assistants.
  • Acting as an effective and cooperative member of your law reform team and the Commission.
  • Acting as a leader and role model, supporting and encouraging the sharing of knowledge, skills and best practice.

Essential qualifications

  • Academic: You must hold a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree in any subject (or an overseas degree qualification equivalent to a 2.1 degree); and
  • Professional: You must be either a solicitor or barrister qualified to practise in England and Wales, or the holder of a law degree who can demonstrate a comparable level of legal ability (for example, as an overseas professionally qualified lawyer, a legal academic or a legal policy expert). 

Selection process

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience, Technical Skills and Strengths.

At the sift stage you will be assessed on your Experience, Behaviours and Technical Skills.

Applications will initially be sifted on their demonstration of meeting the Technical Skills criteria.

Experience

Demonstrable experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the specific job role.

Behaviours

  • Delivery – you must be able to take responsibility for delivering timely and quality results with focus and drive
  • Making effective decisions – you must be able to use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice, carefully considering alternative options, and the implications and risks of decisions
  • Working together – you must be able to form effective partnerships and relationships with people both internally and externally
  • Communicating and influencing – you must be able to communicate with clarity, integrity and enthusiasm.

Technical

Background in criminal law.

Candidates who are successful at the initial sifting stage will undertake an interview and other assessments to gauge their suitability for the role. These exercises will assess your Behaviours, Technical Skills and Strengths.

Salary, Working Arrangements & Further Information

There are fixed-term posts, for 12 or 18 months. Subject to business needs, there is a possibility that the fixed term could be extended, or that in due course the post could be converted to a permanent position.

The posts are available to full-time workers, job-sharers or part-time workers (minimum 4 days a week). If you are looking for shorter part-time working and are not in a job share, please contact us before applying (details below). The Law Commission operates flexible working arrangements including a flexi time scheme and the opportunity to work compressed hours, subject to business needs.

Along with much of the civil service, the Law Commission has worked as a virtual organisation for the last year. We expect to begin to return to the office after the Summer. We will be reviewing our working practices in light of the organisation’s experience of home working throughout the Covid pandemic. While no decisions have been made, we expect this to involve some flexibility in mixing home working and office working in London.

The appointment will be fixed term, and may be on loan (from another Government Department) or on secondment. If appointed there will be restrictions on your ability to undertake private practice.

If your application is successful, you will receive a formal letter offering you an appointment that will explain your terms and conditions of service in detail. Your appointment will include a period of probation.

Suitable candidates who are not successful will be held on a reserve list for future posts; such posts may be available in the next 12 months and offered to suitable candidates on the reserve list.

Salary

For external applicants, the salary range starts at £55,487.

This role is graded at Grade 7a (a specialist grade within the Ministry of Justice’s Grade 7), or Grade 7 if you are not professionally legally qualified. New staff will be normally appointed at the starting point of the scale; higher starting salaries will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

We will consider applications from Government staff on promotion, but candidates will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to work at a high level on complex matters with senior stakeholders.

Membership of the Government Legal Profession

The GLP networks together Government lawyers and trainees, who between them provide legal services across the whole spectrum of government activities. Some are members of the Government Legal Department (GLD): others (like Law Commission lawyers) are not part of the GLD but are part of the wider GLP network. The GLP also maintains close links with lawyers in other parts of the Government, such as the Crown Prosecution Service.

A solicitor or barrister qualified to practise in England and Wales will, on joining the Law Commission, have access to the networking benefits and opportunities of the wider Government Legal Profession. This will also apply to overseas qualified lawyers who fulfil the nationality requirements and are eligible to practise in England and Wales under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. Information about the QLTS can be obtained from the SRA (www.sra.org.uk). 

Equal opportunity & diversity information

We are committed to treating people openly and with respect. As an equal opportunity employer we welcome applications from candidates regardless of their ethnic origin, religious belief, gender, sexuality, disability, marital status, age and race. For further information, please see the following:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/resources/diversity-guidance 

Interviews

Interviews are expected in the week commencing 26 July 2021.

Additional Information

Further information

If you would like to discuss this post further, please contact David Connolly, Head of the Criminal Law Team.

Email: david.connolly@lawcommission.gov.uk 

Closing Date: 29 June 2021

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.

Benefits

The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Pension

The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.

Training

The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.

Support

  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits,retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

Networks

The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1-    To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com);

2-    To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (resourcing-services@justice.gov.uk);

3-    To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.