Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (Manchester) - Justice First Fellowship Trainee Solicitor

Job Title: Justice First Fellowship Trainee Solicitor

Reports to: Senior Solicitor

Location: Manchester

Grade/Salary: SCP 17 £23,836

Hours: 35 per week

Deadline: 5pm on Monday 14 September 2020


Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) exists to advise, support, represent, and campaign with people who are subject to immigration control. We were set up in 1989 and we provide specialist legal advice on all aspects of immigration, asylum, human rights and nationality.


Organisation Detail

We are passionate about the work that we do and we are committed to providing the best possible service to people in need in the north west of England. We represent adults, families, and children in their immigration and asylum matters in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

We provide services during very challenging times. The political climate is hostile to immigration and this is having a harmful impact on those who seek to be reunited with family, or who seek protection in the UK. Lack of legal aid threatens the integrity and capacity of organisations such as ours to take on new and challenging work and to represent those who are most in need. We do however try to combat some of the harmful effects of this by securing grant income from other sources and developing services to meet the needs of particular groups of people.

We work closely with others to promote access to justice for all people subject to immigration control and campaign for improvements in the law and the treatment of people within the asylum system.

GMIAU is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. All our services are free.

The Staff Team

There are currently 23 staff including 15 caseworkers and solicitors.


We take on individual cases and carry a caseload of about 1000 cases at any one time. Our main office, where you will be based, is in Crumpsall, North Manchester. We identify groups of people who are most at risk and develop services to meet need. Currently we prioritise people claiming asylum, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children; people who are homeless and destitute; people who are in need and who have ‘no recourse to public funds’; people who have been given refugee status and who want to reunite with family; people who are at risk of violence and exploitation.

Campaigns and Influencing

This is an essential part of our work. We speak out whenever and wherever we see injustice.


For further information, visit our website.

Any questions regarding this organisation or the position should be directed to


Job Description

Purpose of the Post

The main purpose of this post is to 

  • successfully complete a Training Contract with Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)
  • qualify as a solicitor
  • enhance GMIAU’s capacity to advise and represent people in their immigration, asylum, and human rights cases.

The post carries with it the opportunity to develop a project which will develop your skills, knowledge and understanding of the wider context in which organisations such as GMIAU operate and where ‘access to justice’ is under threat for people in need.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. To assist in the conduct of immigration, asylum and human rights cases, under the direct supervision of the Senior Solicitor.
  2. To register as an immigration adviser with the Law Society (IAAS accreditation scheme) and to gain accreditation to Level 2 within the first 12 months.
  3. To develop and maintain case management systems.
  4. To carry out eligibility assessments.
  5. To carry out research to assist with cases, as directed by the Senior Solicitor.
  6. To keep up-to-date with developments and changes in UK immigration, asylum, human rights and nationality law and practice.
  7. To conduct casework in accordance with agreed office practice.


  1. To be self-servicing, including typing, photocopying and maintaining accurate and up to date records.
  2. To attend staff meetings and training sessions
  3. To provide information and reports on work undertaken to the Senior Solicitor
  4. To carry out all duties with due regard to equality and challenging discrimination.
  5. To carry out all duties with due regard to health and safety, data protection, and all GMIAU policies
  6. To carry out other duties which are commensurate with the duties of and responsibilities within this job description as directed by the Senior Solicitor, or Chief Executive.


Person Specification

This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference as a solicitor practising in immigration law. We are looking for someone to join our team of 12 immigration caseworkers and solicitors who has passion and commitment to this area of work. Your attitude and approach matter as much as your skills and qualifications.

This is what we are looking for:

  Essential Desirable
1. Skills and Abilities
Excellent verbal communication skills Yes  
Excellent written communication skills Yes  
Ability to relate to people who are under great stress Yes  
Ability to demonstrate empathy and understanding Yes  
Ability to work well within a team Yes  
Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines Yes  
2. Knowledge and Understanding
Understanding the main issues affecting people who seek asylum, refugees, and people subject to immigration control.   Yes
Motivated to learn and take additional exams to qualify as a legal immigration practitioner in year one.  Yes  
3. Experience
Personal or voluntary work experience that demonstrates you have an understanding and commitment to challenging discrimination and fighting for equality including access to justice.    Yes
4. Professional Standards
Commitment to maintaining high professional standards of practice.  Yes



Applications are through the Justice First Fellowship website here.


  1. The applicant must satisfy the appropriate entry condition for their type of training placement, i.e:
    • Training Contract (England & Wales) – passed (or expected to pass by 31st October(*1)) the Legal Practice Course (LPC)
    • Training Contract (Scotland) – passed (or expected to pass by 31st October(*1)) the Diploma in Legal Practice/Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DLP)
    • Training Contract (Northern Ireland) – graduated with a recognised law degree and be eligible to apply for September (of the following year) admission to the Solicitors apprenticeship scheme at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (Queen’s University Belfast)

Note: any or all of these types of training placement may be available in any given year.

  1. The applicant must have the right to work in the UK and be willing and able to commit to serving a two-year term as a Fellow commencing in the January (April for Northern Ireland Training Contracts) following their application.
  2. The applicant must have a demonstrated commitment to social welfare law. We are particularly interested in students who wish to effect change in the legal community, such as members of public interest and/or pro bono organisations on campus and those who have dedicated time to serving low-income or less privileged communities either during or prior to law school.
  3. Applicants may only apply for a position at one Host Organisation in any year.

Please complete the online application form with your contact information and responses to each question. Once completed and submitted your application will be acknowledged with an automatic receipt to your email address.

(*1) Please note that if you are shortlisted by your chosen Host, but cannot confirm that you have passed the LPC or DLP by 31st October you will not be allowed to attend for interview.


Application Timeline

The following lists the dates in the application process for 2020:


Training Contracts

2020 Opportunities posted

May 2020

Applications open

17th August 2020

Applications close

14th September 2020

Applicants notified of Initial Selection

14th October 2020

Interview period

November/December 2020

Training Placements commence

January 2021 (*2)

(*2) April 2021 for Northern Irish positions