Legal Adviser in Training - South West, Gloucestershire(Ref: 25210)
The purpose of the role is to be able to represent the Justicesâ€™ Clerk as Legal Adviser to Magistrates and a District Judge (Magistratesâ€™ Courts) in accordance with The Courts Act, 2003, the Justicesâ€™ Clerks Rules, Practice Directions and protocols.
A candidate for this post must be legally qualified in accordance with The Assistant to Justicesâ€™ Clerks (Amendment) Regulations 2007 and able to demonstrate the competences of a Legal Adviser.
A Tier 1 Legal Adviser post 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 Courts without supervision.
On appointment a Legal Adviser role holder will commence entry onto the Legal Adviser Career Structure at the Legal Adviser entry point of Tier 1 (see annex A).
The roles and responsibilities for a Tier 1 Legal Adviser should contribute and impact on the work of the courts throughout HMCTS and including working across another legal jurisdiction eg tribunals.
The role holder is required to have regular contact with their Line Manager who will set performance objectives.
The role holder will be expected to achieve these objectives and manage their day to day performance maintaining the Tier1 Legal Adviser baseline competences (Annex C), maintain their own continuing professional development requirements and the relevant MoJ core competences.
Functions of the Role
The roles and responsibilities of a Tier 1 Legal Adviser are focussed on those applicable to the local magistratesâ€™ court and to the clerkship to which they are assigned.
Please find attached the roles and responsibilities, career framework and competence frameworks.
A Tier 1 Legal Adviser is required to:-
Manage the court room so that it runs efficiently and effectively
Advise the Bench on law, practice and procedure
Facilitate the decision making process applying a structured approach, identifying relevant issues to be incorporated into Justicesâ€™ reasons
Assist with the drafting of Justicesâ€™ reasons
Communicate in clear and concise language
Promote partnership and team working with colleagues and the Bench
Use such delegated judicial powers as they have been granted by the Justicesâ€™ Clerk effectively for the purpose of effective case management
Facilitate the administration in the court room, with the use of IT as appropriate
Conduct legal research as appropriate to carry out the functions of the role.
In addition, the following roles and responsibilities are applicable to the Tier 1 practice areas:-
Have completed the induction programme for the adult criminal and civil courts
Be assessed as competent to take the full range of adult courts without supervision
Have completed the induction programme for the Youth Court
Be assessed as competent to take the full range of Youth Courts without supervision
Have completed the induction programme for the Family Court
Be assessed as competent to take the full range of proceedings in the Family Court
Knowledge and Skills
A Tier 1 Legal Adviser is expected to have the knowledge, skills and experience which include:-
Detailed knowledge of the legal and administrative functions of the court room
Detailed knowledge of adult and youth criminal and civil law and/or family law and procedure
Ability to communicate effectively at all levels, both verbally and in writing
High level of interpersonal skills to develop and maintain effective relationships with staff, magistrates and court users, at all levels and to work as part of a team
Excellent organisational skills in order to manage the court room
Ability to analyse problems and situations quickly and effectively and adapt to change
Competent use of IT and legal resource material
The role holder is required to advise in court for their assigned number of court sessions each week.
As the nature and volume of work assigned to the court room is inherently unpredictable a fully competent Tier 1 Legal Adviser is required to have an established legal understanding and knowledge of court procedures and the ability to research all aspects of law that may arise during the course of a hearing. A fully competent Tier 1 role holder must be capable of undertaking routine cases and, with appropriate notice, complex cases conducted in the Magistratesâ€™ court.
There are three main areas of decision making:
The Justicesâ€™ Clerk has discretion to delegate to the role holder or withhold a range of delegated powers. The precise range and extent of powers delegated to the role holder fall to the discretion of the Justicesâ€™ Clerk.
In view of the level of responsibility of a substantive Tier 1 Legal Adviser, it is likely that the Justicesâ€™ Clerk will delegate the majority of delegated powers to the role holder. The Legal Adviser will be accountable to the Justicesâ€™ Clerk for the exercise of any delegated powers.
As the use of delegated powers requires the role holder to exercise judicial independence, the use of these powers predominantly relates to case management functions.
Legal decisions include identifying the pertinent legal issues of a case which may arise in court, which may often be difficult or contentious. This may include identifying relevant statutes and case law and undertaking appropriate legal research, using IT and other resources to ensure soundly based outcomes are achieved.
During court hearings the role holder will listen to the discussions of the Bench as the case infolds. Depending on the nature of the discussion and the points raised, the role holder may decide to intervene to provide legal advice.
The role holder is also mindful of the roles played in court by the prosecutor and defence advocate and has an obligation to intervene in the proceedings to clarify any issues of importance or ambiguity and to advise the Bench accordingly.
The role holder will provide legal knowledge and advice to administrative colleagues when required.
Administrative decisions include decisions that relate to progressing cases efficiently and effectively through the court process. This can include prioritising cases that have all parties and paperwork present, avoiding delays to witnesses; ensuring defendants held in custody are dealt with promptly, avoiding adjournment of cases, making best the best use of the court time available and the resource of the bench and advocates present in the court room.
Out of court functions and out of hourâ€™s issues
A Tier 1 Legal Adviser will carry out team administrative functions as directed by their Legal Team Manager.
A Tier 1 Legal Adviser will have the competence and ability to participate in occasional courts and other out of hourâ€™s responsibilities.
Advice to Others
Advising the Bench â€“ Magistrates and District Judges during cases â€“ including the preparation of reasons for their decisions following a structure
Ensuring unrepresented defendants understand the procedures to be followed, providing guidance as to the nature of the offence
Providing advice and guidance to administrative members of staff in relation to all aspects of Magisterial law and legal procedure
Providing advice and guidance to other external organisations and members of the public in relation to Magisterial law and procedure.
Management of Resources
Financial and Other Resources
The role holder is not a budget holder but must ensure that he/she makes effective use of time and resources by prioritising and planning work efficiently.
Leadership & Team working
The role holder is a member of a team of Legal Advisers and is required to work as part of that team and with other members of staff. Legal Advisers are senior members of HMCTS and are expected to demonstrate the behaviours appropriate to a leader/manager.
Management of Staff
The role holder does not have line management responsibility.
The role holder provides legal advice to magistrates who have varying lengths of experience of sitting on the Bench but are not legally qualified. Therefore the role holder has a critical role to play in providing well-founded advice to ensure that justice is carried out appropriately and timely.
A pre-requisite to moving to the succeeding Tiers(s) of the career structure that the role holder must demonstrate that they have meet - and continues to meet - all of the requirements in Tier 1 before applying for appointment to a Tier 2 role or beyond. [It is not expected that a Tier 1 Legal Adviser will be able to demonstrate competence in both Youth and Family Courts, in addition to competence in Adult Courts before securing appointment to a Tier 2 post.]
This includes fulfilling clear developmental objectives that have been set in the previous year which may include tasks associated with Tier 2 responsibility and will depend on the ongoing performance of the Legal Adviser and business need. Recommendations in respect of succession planning and career development will be made by the Regional Legal Adviser Resource Committee.
The Regional Legal Adviser Resource Committee will have the responsibility to bench mark and make recommendations as to the number of posts required at each Tier allocated to the Region, depending upon staff turnover and business need.
A Tier 1 fully competent Legal Adviser also has the career development opportunity to become a Mentor. Mentors will be required to Mentor Trainee Legal Advisers and Legal Advisers in Training.
Within the Legal Adviser Career structure, a fully competent Tier 1 Legal Adviser has the opportunity to apply for and be considered for legal and non-legal secondments within the wider departments of the HMCTS, MoJ and other Government agencies.
The principal address for the Ministry of Justice is 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ.
You will be based at one location within the Clerkship. You may however be required to travel to a different location across business/functional areas, within reasonable distance and travel time on a non-permanent basis.
When this happens it will be principally to cover short-term requirements at other locations.
Temporary transfers will be for no longer than one month, unless specified at appointment. As these sometimes occur at short notice or for short periods, any representations you may raise can be heard by appeal by the line manager of your manager. If there is to be a short-term move your manager will discuss the basis of this with you, in accordance with The Managing Organisation Change framework, which can be found on the Ministryâ€™s intranet.
Any permanent moves will be dealt with in accordance with The Managing Organisational Change Framework, which can be found on the Ministryâ€™s intranet.
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 to time that are commensurate with the seniority and nature of the post.