We are recruiting a Legal Officer.

The new post offers the first opportunity to play a leading role in SYRLJ, small, local and well-respected charity giving legal advice and representation to refused asylum seekers in South Yorkshire. The Legal Officer will play a key role in our small and dedicated team, and will supervise law students and other volunteers in research and casework, as well as giving direct advice and representation.

The job description and person specification are available below.

Please apply by letter, attaching a CV, to:

Jobs, South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice, The Sanctuary, 37 – 39, Chapel Walk, Sheffield S1 2PD

Or syrljcoordinator@gmail.com

Closing date: Monday 16th July 2018 at 23.59.

Interviews will be in the week beginning Monday 30th July 2018.

If you have queries about the job please phone us on: 07851 528145 or 07724 536249 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.


Job title:                              Legal Officer

Responsible to:                 SYRLJ Trustees

Salary:                                 £25,951 pa full time, pro rata: (actual salary £21,813)

Hours:                                 4 days per week (28 hours)  

Holidays:                             25 days plus English Bank Holidays (pro rata)

South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice 

SYRLJ is a small voluntary organisation which has been providing legal help for refused asylum seekers since 2011. This includes research, advice, referral and fresh protection or family life claims. SYRLJ is based in The Sanctuary, Sheffield, a vibrant new centre for refugees, asylum seekers, and refugee support organisations.

SYRLJ is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner to level 3. To date SYRLJ’s legal work has been carried out by qualified volunteers supervising students and others. We are entering an exciting new phase, as we have secured funding which enables us to employ a qualified Legal Officer to lead in delivering and developing our legal work. The funding comes through agreements with two of our existing close partners, the British Red Cross and ASSIST Sheffield. This will enhance our effectiveness in giving legal support to refused asylum seekers supported by those organisations, as well as placing all our work on a more secure footing.

SYRLJ provides detailed research, intensive casework and legal advice. We investigate cases thoroughly and imaginatively with the aim of establishing a legal route forward to obtain status wherever possible. We focus mainly on fresh claims for international protection but also work on Article 8 and statelessness applications. There may be opportunities to expand our activities, for instance to include exceptional case funding applications and legal aid appeals.

We are well embedded in the local community and network of voluntary organisations, and have strong relationships with local legal practitioners and the University of Sheffield Law Department, who recruit our student volunteers.

Job purpose

To lead in the provision of high quality immigration advice to refused asylum seekers in South Yorkshire

To give direction, support and supervision to casework volunteers, including students

To give free and thoroughly grounded legal advice to refused asylum seekers and other clients of SYRLJ and to prepare applications for status and referrals to other legal representatives

To work with the Coordinator and volunteer team to maintain the ethos of SYRLJ and to develop its work to improve asylum legal representation in Sheffield and South Yorkshire

To maintain good practice in all aspects of our partnership agreements.

Main duties and responsibilities
Equal opportunities
  1. To actively promote the aims, core values and equal opportunities practice of SYRLJ.
Legal supervision and casework  
  1. To consider new referrals, decide whether SYRLJ can assist with research or other legal work, and to advise accordingly;
  2. To establish research and action plans for each case;
  3. To supervise volunteers conducting the research;
  4. To supervise collation of research materials and referral onward where appropriate;
  5. To draft further submissions in cases where SYRLJ is acting directly and to advocate on behalf of clients;
  6. To liaise with partner organisations about individual cases;
  7. To draft instructions to counsel and experts as needed;
  8. To interview and advise clients;
  9. To keep up to date with relevant changes in legislation, case law and policy.
Service development
  1. To liaise with the wider network of organisations doing fresh claims work and country of origin research in order to learn and share good practice;
  2. To liaise with potential experts;
  3. In collaboration with the Coordinator, to develop and maintain a humane, inclusive and supportive working practice with asylum seekers;
  4. In collaboration with the Coordinator, to develop and maintain an inclusive and creative working environment for staff and volunteers;
  5. To work with the Coordinator, trustees and volunteers to develop SYRLJ’s response to the need for asylum advice in South Yorkshire;
  6. Together with the Coordinator, to run the volunteer training programme.
  7. To support delivery of, or to deliver training to, partner organisations as required.
Contract management
  1. Together with the Coordinator, to ensure SYRLJ meets casework and other commitments undertaken in agreements with partner organisations.
  1. Maintain case records for the purpose of continuity, information retrieval, monitoring and reporting;
  2. Assisting in preparing reports for funders as required;
  3. To be administratively self-servicing.
Professional development 
  1. To attend support and supervision and appraisal meetings;
  2. To keep up to date and meet identified learning and development needs as appropriate, including maintaining professional standards and remaining accredited at Level 2/3 OISC.
  1. To attend staff/trustee meetings as required.
  2. To undertake any other duties that are compatible with the functions of the post.
Working arrangements

The post holder will work a 28-hour week and be based at the SYRLJ office in Sheffield. Normal working hours will be usual office hours. However the post holder will need to attend occasional meetings, training and other events outside normal working hours.

SYRLJ is a small organisation and therefore the post-holder will not have an office based manager. They will need to be highly motivated to identify priorities on a day to day basis. There is one existing part-time member of staff (the Coordinator) and the post-holder will work closely with the Coordinator. The new funding will also enable recruitment of a part-time administrative assistant.

Person specification

Please note that all points within this list must be addressed when completing your application. You should go through the person specification point by point and show on your application how you have the particular experience, knowledge or ability asked for, giving examples. Applications must be in the form of a CV and covering letter.

Essential requirements 

  1. OISC Level 2
  2. Substantial recent, professional experience in an immigration advice setting
  3. A strong track record of dealing with complex cases, and applying imaginative legal approaches to help bring them to resolution
  4. Experience of managing an advice caseload appropriate to Level 2 OISC accreditation
  5. Experience of interpreting law and giving legal guidance and advice face-to-face, over the telephone and by correspondence
  6. Ability to use online and written resources to research law
  7. Understanding of some of the key recent and upcoming changes in relevant legislation, case law and policy and the effects of these on our clients
  8. Understanding of the wider issues and challenges faced by asylum seekers and refugees
  9. Knowledge and experience of other agencies and organisations that can assist SYRLJ clients both nationally and locally
  10. Ability to work under pressure, to prioritise and to meet deadlines
  11. Ability to work sensitively with a vulnerable client group
  12. Excellent communication skills
  13. A commitment to the aims, principles and policies of SYRLJ
  14. Ability to use IT effectively including case management systems
  15. Ability to work with and direct volunteers
  16. Ability to work self sufficiently
  17. Ability to work in a resource limited environment
  18. Ability to work in a small team
  19. Ability to maintain registration, CPD and all other regulatory requirements
Desirable requirements
  1. OISC Level 3
  2. Experience of managing an advice caseload appropriate to Level 3 OISC accreditation
  3. Experience of providing training
  4. Knowledge of legal aid processes /restrictions
  5. Experience of work on campaigns to improve access to justice for our client group
  6. Experience of working with and directing volunteers, or of working as a volunteer
Other information

SYRLJ is not able to sponsor visas, and therefore you must have a right to work in the UK in order to be appointed to this post.

This post is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.


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