Legal Adviser in Training – (Family) – National – 45809
£30,989 - £41,095
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
Why we exist
Magistrates’ Courts deal with approximately 95% of criminal cases and 60% of family cases. Dealing with cases justly and speedily, and in ways that meet the needs of our court users, is at the heart of what we do.
The role of a legal adviser is pivotal to the smooth running of the court. Magistrates are unqualified judges drawn from the local community and sit on a voluntary basis. As Magistrates do not have a legal background, the legal adviser is required to sit in court with them to advise on legal points, practice and procedure and assist with the formulation and drafting of their reasons.
As a legal adviser to magistrates, you are responsible for ensuring that those attending court, whether as a party, victim or witness are treated with humanity and respect. Good legal knowledge and the ability to communicate that clearly to magistrates and court users is vital to the courts ability to deal with cases justly. Success in the role you are considering will enable you to make a positive difference to your community and your society.
We are here to ensure everyone in need of our courts and tribunals receives a service that suits their needs.
What are we doing?
We have begun a £1bn, six-year Reform Programme to completely change what we do and make our services better for the society we serve. The Reform Programme is one of the most ambitious of its kind in the world.
How are we going to fulfil our vision?
Every year, millions of people seek justice in our courts and tribunals.
We are focused on radically improving the customer’s experience by:
- Employing digital technology to enable access to justice by enabling victims and witnesses to give evidence in a less intimidating way via video link;
- Enabling self-service, where appropriate, to ensure people can get fast and easy access to simple judicial services;
- Streamlining processes so we can reinvest in improvements that benefit our customers;
As a Legal Adviser in Training, you will be at the forefront of delivering this improved service and experience to our customers both in and outside the court room.
The key purpose of the role
As a Legal Adviser in Training, you will commence a training programme designed to enable you to act as Legal Adviser to the Magistrates and District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) in accordance with legislation and the Criminal and Family Practice Directions.
To be eligible for this post candidates must have completed the academic stage of training to become a Solicitor or Barrister, which requires qualifications as set out below:
- An approved law degree or a degree in any subject followed by completion of the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) Fellowship of the Institute of Legal Executives and
- Completion of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for Solicitors or Bar Vocational Course (BVC) for Barristers and
- Completed a recognised training contract as a solicitor or pupillage as a barrister.
The key objectives of the role are contained within the Legal Adviser Competence Framework which includes:
(i) Building and maintaining effective working relationships with magistrates:
- Advising the Magistrates on law, practice and procedure and assisting with the drafting of their reasons
- Facilitating a structured decision-making process based on knowledge of appropriate techniques, manuals, guidelines and current statutory and case law developments
- Working in partnership with magistrates both in and out of court and demonstrating a recognition and understanding of local practices, procedures, policies, current issues and relevant training opportunities.
(ii) Facilitating the business of the Court:
- Preparing, planning and the execution of activities to enable court/direction hearings, courtroom activity and the wider activities that progress the business of the court, including provision of advice and written legal documentation
- Providing professional advice and documentation both in and out of court
- Planning, conducting and concluding case management hearings effectively, when sitting with or without a bench of magistrates
- Applying specialist knowledge and skills both in and out of court as well as with administration teams and in related meetings
- Supporting the work of the court through contact with Panel/Committee members during meetings, on a one to one basis and at training/development sessions and by liaising with the relevant agencies involved in specialist court and Committee work.
- Competent in the use of IT systems including online digital legal resources.
(iii) Advising and working with staff:
- Working in partnership with other staff, using knowledge of relevant protocols, procedures, processes and constraints
- Carrying out administrative duties using local scheduling, listing and case management protocols, within statutory and non-statutory time limits.
- Provide legal advice and guidance to administrative staff
The ability to advise on and make objective and impartial decisions is an important part of a legal adviser’s role. Sometimes those decisions will involve complex issues and competing interests and as a legal adviser you will need to not only be able to make sound decisions but be able to give clear reasons for any decision.
Decisions involving the law will require sound legal research, using online resources, and the ability to quickly assimilate legislation and case law and to apply it confidently to the situation being considered.
You will also be required to prioritise and progress work efficiently taking account of the needs of those interested in the case.
Out of Court Functions
When not in court, the Legal Adviser in Training will be required to prepare for their courts, research legal issues, support the case progression function, deal with enquiries and participate in other team administrative duties as directed by their Legal Team Manager.
(Will be assessed at sift stage and interview and must be demonstrated at level 3 HEO/SEO)
Communicating and Influencing
You communicate clearly and concisely, listening to others and adapting your style to suit the audience. You communicate and influence with confidence and challenge others in a constructive manner. You keep others informed at all times and easily develop mutual trust and respect.
You behave in an open and approachable manner and easily develop good working relationships. You look for ways to develop others and are always willing to support colleagues with their workload. You act as a professional role model and provide leadership to operational staff.
Making Effective Decisions
You show good judgement and problem-solving ability, using relevant information to guide your thinking. You have the confidence to make robust and impartial decisions, considering all the implications and possible risks. You can clearly explain and justify your decisions.
Managing a Quality Service
You act as the professional face of the court, maintaining authority and control and behaving with integrity at all times. You consider the needs of court users and treat them with empathy and understanding. You are focussed on delivering an excellent service, identifying opportunities to improve processes and performance and taking personal responsibility for your own learning and development.
Delivering at Pace
You take personal responsibility for delivering high quality work, showing excellent organisation and time management skills. You work effectively under pressure and show resilience in challenging situations. You are flexible and quickly adapt to new situations and circumstances, embracing change and encouraging others to do the same.
(As part of the Success Profile Framework, strengths applicable to the role will be assessed at interview).
Maintaining relevant and up-to-date legal knowledge and skills will be assessed in interview.
HMCTS offers a bespoke training programme which is delivered through a variety of training methods. The legal adviser in training will be supported by an allocated mentor to guide them throughout the Induction and Training Programme.
Successful candidates will be required to attend a two-day Induction Programme run by the Judicial College which is followed by supplementary training in the workplace and the completion of modules contained in the Judicial College’s Legal Adviser Manual. This learning will be enhanced by relevant court observations and additional local and regional training events with peers.
Participation in this programme will require regular contact with not only the mentor but also the Line Manager who will set performance objectives to facilitate and monitor their progress. The successful candidate will be expected to achieve those objectives by managing their day to day performance with a view to attaining and maintaining the Tier 1 Legal Adviser baseline competences and maintain their own continuing professional development requirements.
Having successfully completed the Legal Adviser Induction programme it is expected that a Legal Adviser in Training will be able to act as a Legal Adviser in adult criminal and civil courts, and/or youth criminal and civil courts and/or Family Proceedings Courts without supervision.
Once training has been successfully completed, the legal adviser in training will progress to a Tier 1 Legal Adviser role (with associated increase in pay). Following appointment as a Tier 1 Legal Adviser, a development programme will be offered to enable progression to a Tier 2 Legal Adviser role (with associated increase in pay).
Tier 2 Legal advisers are expected to demonstrate a high level of legal professionalism and will use those skills outside of the courtroom for the wider benefit of their team and HMCTS. The Tier 2 role provides the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills in a recognised legal practice area together with the full range of associated delegated powers. Tier 2 legal advisers play an important role in ensuring effective case management and managing complex cases.
The Tier 2 role also provides an opportunity for career development in other areas such as management and leadership, mentoring and training, customer service and organisational delivery.
Tier 2 legal advisers play an important role in mentoring other staff whether Trainee Legal Advisers, Legal Advisers in Training, apprentices and other Legal Advisers who are in the process of developing their skills through the career structure.
Tier 2 legal advisers can develop their careers within HMCTS through opportunities to apply for Legal Team Manager roles or within the wider civil service.
Within the Legal Adviser Career Structure, legal advisers have the opportunity to apply for and be considered for legal and non-legal secondments within the wider departments of HMCTS, MOJ and other Government Agencies.
A Tier 2 Legal Adviser will find the knowledge and skills gained within the role particularly relevant to any aspirations for judicial appointment. HMCTS is supportive of applications for judicial appointment and a number of legal advisers within HMCTS sit as fee paid judiciary in tribunals, county courts and magistrates’ courts.
A successful candidate will be offered a post at a base court house that can oversee the training programme. In many areas legal teams work across a number of courthouses and a reasonable amount of travel can be expected.
The training programme takes about a year to complete and it is expected that the programme will be completed within the base location. Save in exceptional circumstances, the postholder should not apply to transfer to another area during the period of the training programme.
This job description is a guide to the principal current duties of the post. It is not an exhaustive list of the duties and responsibilities of the post and the postholder may be required to undertake any other duties from time that are commensurate with the seniority and nature of the post.
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.
The MoJ offers a range of benefits:
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.
The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.
The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.
- 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.
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 Mojemail@example.com);
2- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (firstname.lastname@example.org);
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.