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The role will be based within a Courts & Tribunals Service Centre or Regional Hearing Centre, although regular and routine working from other regional locations may be expected.
National travel will be an occasional requirement.
Pay span or equivalent: HEO
The post holder is required to work in a flexible way and undertake any other duties reasonably requested by line management which are commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility of this post.
As part of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) the Tribunals directorate is responsible for the effective administration of tribunals in England and Wales and non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We work with an independent judiciary across a wide range of jurisdictions to provide a fair, efficient and effective justice system.
HMCTS is undertaking an ambitious reform programme. The programme will enhance the provision of a world-class justice system, in a manner that provides an improved user experience at reduced cost to the taxpayer. This will contribute to consolidating the UK’s position at the forefront of an increasingly competitive international legal market as well as ensuring access to justice for all.
The programme includes creating high quality services, modernising the court estate, updating and replacing its technology, speeding up and streamlining working practices, refurbishing buildings to reduce maintenance costs and provide much improved services for service users, especially vulnerable witnesses and victims.
Working within a Courts & Tribunals Service Centre or Regional Hearing Centre, the Legal Officer will support the effective administration of Tribunals business by undertaking a range of complex case work and assessment activity in order to determine how best to advance caseloads and remove any barriers to effective and timely case progression.
The key purpose of the role
Working closely with judiciary, legal professionals and tribunal administration teams, the Legal Officer will undertake initial assessments on a range of incoming tribunals work, including case files, applications and correspondence in order to establish the level of authority and expertise needed to address the case and determine the most effective route for case progression. Working to delegated judicial functions and working to directions from the judiciary, the Legal Officer will provide ongoing and proactive management of caseloads, identifying any barriers or risks to effective case progression and developing interventions or actions to resolve these, liaising with a range of stakeholders and the public.
The Legal Officer will be expected to evidence a strong understanding of functioning across a range of jurisdictions to provide flexible, cross tribunal expertise.
The key objectives of the role include
Initial Case Assessment
The Legal Officer will be required to undertake initial assessment on incoming tribunals documentation and liaise with various stakeholders, including service users, to ensure effective case progression. This will include:Identify that claims / appeals have been lodged within the relevant timelinesEnsure that claims / appeals are being addressed by the correct tribunal and at correct tribunal tierEnsuring any relevant fees have been paid by claimants / appellantsEnsuring claims / appeals are made on the correct documentation and that all of the information necessary to progress the case is presentEnsuring claims and appeals are allocated to the correct appeal type and where appropriate listing track
Operating under delegated judicial functions, manage the case by removing barriers to its progression and ensuring efficient allocation of tribunal resources. This will include:Issuing directions to parties to file evidence and other documentsGiving of listing instructions to administrative staffEnsuring the panel composition is appropriate to the caseEnsuring interpreter requirements are identifiedUndertaking case management appointments
Applications from parties to the appeal
Working to delegated judicial powers, Legal Officers will be expected to identify and sift applications, making decisions on:Postponing hearingsTransferring proceedings to another region or jurisdictionRequests to withdraw proceedingsExtensions and variations of time to comply with an aspect of procedure rulesRequests to vary directions
Operating within a regional cluster, the Legal Officers will be expected to develop expertise across a number of tribunal jurisdictions in order to provide flexible technical case support across tribunals business.
Communicating with key stakeholdersEnsuring effective engagement with judiciary, user groups and representative organisations in order to progress tribunals work effectivelyThink beyond own area of responsibility, considering wider policy and organisational implications of issues
Undertake any administration necessary to support the effective delivery of the Legal Officer role, ensuring:All relevant documentation is completed fully, accurately and in timely mannerAll physical and electronic tribunal case files and records are properly and tidily maintained
The Legal Officer will report to a manager within a Courts & Tribunals Service Centre or Regional Hearing Centre. In working under delegated judicial functions, the Legal Officer will receive significant technical input and direction from the relevant tribunal judiciary.
You will be required to provide evidence on the following behaviours success profile at Level 3 at both sift and interview stages.
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.
Communicating and 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.
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. Managing a Quality Service
Managing a Quality Service
Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence. Work with stakeholders to set priorities, objectives and timescales. Successfully deliver high quality outcomes that meet the customers’ needs and gives value for money. Identify risks and resolve issues efficiently. Involve a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and delivery partners in developing suggestions for improvement. Establish ways to find and respond to feedback from customers about the services provided.
Delivering at Pace
Show a positive approach to keeping the whole team’s efforts focused on the top priorities. Promote a culture of following the appropriate procedures to ensure results are achieved on time whilst still enabling innovation. Ensure the most appropriate resources are available for colleagues to use to do their job effectively. Regularly monitor your own and team’s work against milestones ensuring individual needs are considered when setting tasks. Act promptly to reassess workloads and priorities when there are conflicting demands to maintain performance. Allow individuals the space and authority to meet objectives, providing additional support where necessary, whilst keeping overall responsibility.
ExperienceA law degree or equivalent technical experience is desirable.
The equivalent technical experience has been defined as:
“The demonstration of a transferable decision-making aptitude, working within a set framework or guidance and previous precedents, under a form of supervision”
Operational Delivery in HMCTS
This role is part of the Operational Delivery Profession. Operational delivery professionals are the outward face of government, providing essential services to the public in a variety of roles. They work in many different departments and agencies across the breadth of the UK, delivering service to customers in:Face-to face roles in HMCTS for example a court usherContact Centre roles in HMCTS for example call centre advisersProcessing roles in HMCTS for example staff at the County Courts Money-Claims Centre and Courts and Tribunal administration.
Being part of the operational delivery profession means belonging to a cross-government community of people. This will offer you access to information on professional standards, skills development and qualifications to help you continue to improve your development and performance and expand your career options.