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Prison Law Solicitor

Category : Government
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Location : Cheltenham , Darlington , Pontypridd , Swansea
Salary : £ 30,989 - £ 41,095
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2021-06-14
Date Posted : 2021-05-30
Reference : 42487  

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


The Public Defender Service (PDS) is a department of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) that operates alongside private providers delivering a full range of quality, value for money services within the criminal defence & prison law market. Informed by its participation in the market, PDS contributes credible and expert advice to the government on service and policy development affecting the sector and acts as a test-bed for innovation and quality improvements. PDS operations provide a critical safeguard against market failure across England and Wales, thereby ensuring the LAA fulfils its statutory responsibility to ensure continuous access to justice.

Purpose of the role

Provision of advice, assistance and representation to individuals in prison in relation to disciplinary matters, sentencing issues and parole hearings. This work may be combined with the provision of advice assistance and representation as a qualifying duty solicitor.

Tasks / accountabilities / responsibilities

  • Provide advice, assistance and representation to individuals qualifying for prison law assistance and representation
  • Be an effective team member who supports colleagues,
  • Contribute personally to the continuous improvement of PDS service and the development of PDS as a great place to work,
  • Provide expert input, as and when required, to various projects within the Agency and wider Government.

Essential criteria

  • Solicitor, Barrister or CFilex fully qualified to practice as a Solicitor in England and Wales with excellent practical knowledge and experience of prison law with knowledge and experience in criminal law, evidence and procedure
  • Effective communication skills and personal presence that enables rapport-building with prisoners and other clients, a broad range of external stakeholders and with own team members and colleagues, with the ability to challenge prison/police and other prosecution authorities in a manner that is effective, professional and in the best interests of the client.
  • Excellent preparation and advocacy skills. Experience in preparing a range of prison law cases.
  • Personal resilience with a genuine commitment to personal care, to maintain mental and physical wellbeing of self and team members in a working environment that may present emotional and other challenges.
  • Commitment to the wider aims of the PDS to become an exemplar of best practice in prison law/criminal litigation and advocacy and its remit to act as a test-bed for innovation, increased efficiencies and quality improvements for the benefit of the wider prison law/criminal defence community.
  • Enthusiasm to engage with new technologies to enhance quality and create efficiencies based on sound IT skills (particularly Microsoft Office), and the willingness to self-create the majority of own documentation.
  • Ability and willingness to work flexibly including where appropriate during unsociable hours
  • Possession of a full driving licence and access to a motor vehicle, together with flexibility and preparedness to travel to cover cases across England and Wales if required.      

Success Profile

Civil Service Success Profiles apply to this role as relevant to the Band B grade. The main duties and responsibilities of this post include, but are not limited to:


Communicating & Influencing

Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner, choosing appropriate styles to maximise understanding and impact. Encourage the use of different communication methods, including digital resources and highlight the benefits, including ensuring cost effectiveness. Ensure communication has a clear purpose and takes into account people’s individual needs. Share information as appropriate and check understanding. Show positivity and enthusiasm towards work, encouraging others to do the same. Ensure that important messages are communicated with colleagues and stakeholders respectfully, taking into consideration the diversity of interests

Making Effective Decisions

Understand own level of responsibility and empower others to make decisions where appropriate. Analyse and use a range of relevant, credible information from internal and external sources to support decisions. Invite challenge and where appropriate involve others in decision making. Display confidence when making difficult decisions, even if they prove to be unpopular. Consult with others to ensure the potential impacts on end users have been considered. Present strong recommendations in a timely manner outlining the consideration of other options, costs, benefits and risks.

Working Together

Encourage joined up team work within own team and across other groups. Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Collaborate with these to share information, resources and support. Invest time to develop a common focus and genuine positive team spirit where colleagues feel valued and respect one another. Put in place support for the wellbeing of individuals within the team, including consideration of your own needs. Make it clear to all team members that bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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