Asylum Aid (London) – Justice First Fellowship
|ob Title||Justice First Fellow|
|Reports to||Supervising Solicitor|
|Location||Asylum Aid Office (London)|
|Grade/Salary||£28,000-£32,000 p.a. (dependent on experience)|
|Hours||37.5 hours per week|
|Interview Dates||Thursday 2nd February 2023 & Thursday 9th February 2023|
Asylum Aid was set up in 1990 to deliver high-quality legal representation to people with particularly complex cases who are seeking asylum in the UK.
For over 30 years, we have enabled Survivors of trafficking and torture, stateless people, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people seeking asylum to gain legal status in the UK and begin rebuilding their lives. We are dedicated to achieving systemic change in the asylum system and improving access to justice by engaging in strategic litigation and securing policy changes for all those seeking protection from persecution.
For further information, visit our website.
Any questions regarding this organisation or the position should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The period of the Fellowship, 2023-2024, will be a time of both opportunity and challenge for Asylum Aid in our work to ensure that those who need protection from persecution and other forms of human cruelty obtain it. We expect that the implementation of the Nationality and Borders Act, and the policies embodied in the New Plan for Immigration, will present new challenges for the people we work with, as the same time that conflicts, such as that in Ukraine in early 2022, climate change, and poverty mean that the need for protection will likely increase.
Asylum Aid fills a critical gap in support for people at risk of being returned to danger and violence overseas or languishing in the legal system, resulting in crisis and exploitation in the UK . We know that without the proper time and care, people seeking asylum can end up in limbo for years, causing them great pain and trauma, and leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and potentially being trafficked. At Asylum Aid we provide specialist advice and end-to-end casework, which allows us to gain the insight and knowledge that are essential in putting the best case forward for them, so they are able to obtain legal protection and remain safe.
Since August 2020, Asylum Aid has been part of the Helen Bamber Foundation Group. Asylum Aid operates as an independent charity, led by its own Director within the group structure, and is ambitious about growing its impact and reach in the future to ensure protection from persecution for those who need it. The Helen Bamber Foundation is a pioneering Human Rights charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers who are the survivors of trafficking and torture, including gender-based and ‘honour-based’ violence. Recognising the complexity of each client’s suffering and needs, the Foundation offers specialist services within a Model of Integrated Care encompassing: therapy; medical advice; legal protection; counter-trafficking support; housing & welfare advice; and community and integration.
ABOUT THE ROLE
This is an exciting opportunity to train and qualify as a solicitor within Asylum Aid’s casework team. You will have the opportunity to work, under supervision, on the range of asylum and protection work, including applications under the statelessness procedure, trafficking cases, and family reunion. You will also work on public law claims arising from our casework and support our policy advocacy and strategic legal work.
Asylum Aid will provide all necessary training and supervision to enable you to develop your skills and provide expert legal advice and representation in complex cases. You will also be supported to develop and implement a project as part of your Justice First Fellowship to increase access to justice for those seeking protection in the UK.
As is the nature of this sector, the role will be exposed to a high volume of traumatic and distressing material and, whilst you will be supported by the Immigration supervisor and surrounding team, you should also be able to demonstrate awareness of good self-care principles in an intense work environment.
The Foundation and Asylum Aid is an equal opportunities and Living Wage employer. We are committed to attracting and recruiting diverse candidates as we are keen to make sure that our staff, trustees, volunteers and ambassadors reflect the communities we serve and the wider community we work in at every level within the organisation. We particularly welcome applications from those with BAME backgrounds and with lived experience of the UK immigration system.
Essential Qualifications and Experience
- Law degree or equivalent qualification and successful completion of the Legal Practice Course, or a degree-level qualification in any subject and have passed Part 1 of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination
- At least 12 months’ experience of paid or voluntary work in an advice-giving organisation (e.g. law firm, law centre, Citizens Advice, or similar advice agency)
Desirable Qualifications and Experience
- Accredited under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme to at least Casework Assistant level and/or registered with the OISC to at least level 2 in Asylum and Protection work and level 1 in immigration work;
- Experience of delivering advice to, or working with, asylum seekers, stateless persons or other vulnerable populations, particularly those whose first language is not English;
- Experience of working with a Case Management System;
- Experience of working under a legal aid contract and of compliance with a legal regulatory scheme;
- Awareness of trafficking and modern slavery and of the UK National Referral Mechanism.
Key Duties and Responsibilities
- To undertake appropriate casework tasks on matters relating to asylum, protection, trafficking and statelessness as delegated by fee earners and with supervision
- Under supervision, provide legal advice and representation to clients on asylum and human rights claims, trafficking referrals, family reunion and other routes to protection, throughout the application procedure, on appeal and in related judicial review claims
- Where appropriate, apply for legal aid funding for cases, including Exceptional Case Funding and certificated funding, and comply with all LAA requirements;
- Carry out country information research and research case-related legal issues;
- Time record all chargeable work on legal aid matters in a timely manner;
- Demonstrate excellent standards of client care, taking account of the particular needs of vulnerable people;
- Make referrals to attempt to find additional, non-legal support for clients, where this is deemed appropriate and clients are open to such support.
- Ensure that all requirements of the Legal Aid Agency contract with regard to the conduct of publicly funded work are complied with in respect of delegated tasks, in particular paragraph 8.18 regarding Reserved Matters
- Ensure that legal aid and other income is maximised, and targets are achieved;
- Maintain client files and records in line with file management procedures;
- Analyse legal information from domestic and international case law and legislation.
- Design and implement a project which contributes to the development and implementation of Asylum Aid’s strategy;
- Comply with professional standards and accreditation, including securing and maintaining level 2 IAAS senior caseworker accreditation;
- Attend training and courses as agreed with supervisor to develop own understanding of immigration and asylum law and professional skills;
- Ensure that any reporting and monitoring requirements are met in full;
- Assist, inspire and support colleagues in carrying out their duties;
- Attend and actively participate in staff and legal team meetings;
- Attend and actively participate in internal and external meetings, events, and training sessions as appropriate;
- To actively participate in supervision and appraisal and team activities to promote high standards and continuous development;
- Adhere in full to all Asylum Aid’s policies and procedures;
- Undertake any other related activities as required.
In addition to the essential criteria and desirable criteria above, the ideal candidate will meet the following criteria for the post:
- Understanding of the Refugee Convention and of the UK immigration and asylum system;
- Awareness of legal aid and exceptional case funding;
- Awareness of judicial review procedure and public law principles;
- An understanding of the reasons why people seek asylum in the UK;
- An understanding of the barriers migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers face regarding access to legal advice, reasons why they may become destitute and why this makes it more difficult to access advice and support.
- Ability and willingness to learn and assimilate new knowledge in a working environment;
- The ability to maintain a high level of client care;
- The ability to work co-operatively with colleagues and to develop relationships with external partners including referral organisations;
- The ability to work autonomously, prioritise workloads and meet deadlines;
- The ability to analyse and assess detailed information, and to grasp complex issues rapidly;
- The ability to communicate effectively with people from a wide range of backgrounds;
- The ability to deal empathetically and supportively with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers;
- The ability to communicate fluently and effectively in English, with a range of internal and external contacts;
- The ability to be self-servicing in an office environment;
- The ability to work outside normal office hours as required; and
- The ability to travel in order to carry out the responsibilities of the post.
Throughout all aspects of the role
- Respect for client confidentiality at all times in line with Asylum Aid’s confidentiality agreements and consent forms;
- Ensure accurate and timely record keeping of client data on the case management system and participate in gathering data when required for monitoring and evaluation in line with organisational KPIs;
- Attend staff training days, meetings and any departmental meetings when required;
- As requested by supervisor, attend forums and meetings with relevant external agencies to promote Asylum Aid, share information and keep knowledge up to date;
- Promote the aims, principles, policies, interests and wellbeing of Asylum and to protect its integrity and reputation at all time;
- Support the organisation at special events and initiatives.
Please note that the successful candidate will be offered the job subject to suitable references and an enhanced DBS check.If appointed you will be required to give your consent to Asylum Aid to receive regular updates on your criminal records status throughout your employment. We regret that we can only respond to applicants who make it to the interview stage. We kindly request no contact from agencies.