Prison Law (Bhatt Murphy) & Strategic Litigation (Article 39)
Partner (Bhatt Murphy)
Dalston, London, E8, but with the possibility of some home based working
£25,200 per annum + 5% pension contribution
9.30 – 5.30 Monday to Friday
Bhatt Murphy is a team of legal aid lawyers who work together to make a contribution to the protection of social welfare, civil liberties and access to justice. We offer specialist representation to often vulnerable members of the public who seek accountability from public authorities. Our focus includes immigration authorities, mental health providers, social services and criminal justice agencies. A core element of our work is assisting clients to combat discrimination in all its forms. We are motivated by the needs of our clients and use the law as a tool to assist in the realisation of their objectives. We aim to deliver a high quality legal service irrespective of our client’s ability to pay.
About Bhatt Murphy
Bhatt Murphy is a team of legal aid lawyers who work together to make a contribution to the protection of social welfare, civil liberties and access to justice. We offer specialist representation to often vulnerable members of the public who seek accountability from public authorities. Our focus includes prisons, police, immigration authorities, mental health providers, social services and other criminal justice agencies. A core element of our work is assisting clients to combat discrimination in all its forms. We are motivated by the needs of our clients and use the law as a tool to assist in the realisation of their objectives. We aim to deliver a high quality legal service irrespective of our client’s ability to pay.
We rely upon a collaborative style to ensure that our clients benefit from the commitment of their own individual lawyer as well as the creativity and innovation of the entire team.
The firm enjoys Band 1 ranking in the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession (2020/2021) in all areas of the firm’s practice.
Bhatt Murphy is Lexcel accredited and is a London Living Wage employer.
At a time when access to justice is increasingly under threat, we aim to make ourselves as accessible as possible to our clients, to deliver high quality legal services to them, and to contribute to the progressive development of the law in our specialist areas.
About Article 39
Article 39 fights for the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions in England.A registered charity, we take our name from Article 39 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which grants every child who has experienced abuse or suffered other violations of their rights to recover in environments where their health, self-respect and dignity are nurtured. Our work runs across four complementary areas: legal education; practice development (our national network of independentadvocates has nearly 300 members); policy advocacy, research and strategic litigation; and awareness-raising of the rights, views and interests of children.
Article 39’s employees are all home-working in different parts of England. We have good online systems of communication and information-sharing, which the successful candidate will have access to as an equal member of our team. We are a small staff team which works flexibly, including to support parenting responsibilities. It may also be possible for you to work from the Bhatt Murphy office during your days with Article 39 (tbc).
This is an exciting role working at both Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and the children’s rights charity Article 39 who are working in partnership to host a Justice First Fellow commencing in 2022. Your time will be split across both organisations (3 days with Bhatt Murphy and 2 days with Article 39). Your focus will be on prison law and the rights of children living in institutional settings.
At Bhatt Murphy you will assist solicitors in the conduct of complex public and/or private law litigation arising from a prison and/or other detention contexts and where appropriate, the rights of children.
At Article 39 your focus will be on strategic legal work promoting and defending the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions (boarding and residential schools, children’s homes, immigration detention, mental health inpatient units and prisons). You will also support the charity’s legal education and information service to independent advocates who ensure children and young people are heard and their rights are protected in a variety of settings.
You will be employed by Bhatt Murphy but the two organisations will work in close partnership across the relevant areas of law. Your project advancing access to justice will be undertaken with Article 39, and will therefore be around promoting and protecting children’s rights in institutional settings.
In the course of your work you will be expected to take statements from clients and witnesses, prepare funding applications, collate evidence, rationalise paperwork, prepare formal documents, liaise with courts, experts and counsel, compile disclosure lists and comply with the Civil Procedure Rules and Lexcel requirements. You will also be expected to assist with administrative tasks. To offer effective assistance on cases you will need to develop the ability to understand the complex legal territory of the case and accurately reflect the client’s instructions in formal paperwork.
The role can involve a significant degree of contact with vulnerable clients, including visits to prisons and other institutions. The highest standards of sensitivity and professionalism are therefore essential.
At Article 39 you will undertake analysis of primary and secondary legislation, identifying gaps in protection for children living in institutional settings.Your legal work will support campaigns to secure positive changes in law and policy. You will research and prepare concise, accessible information about different aspects of children’s rights, to be used by children and young people and their independent advocates. There may also be an opportunity to observe the work of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in Geneva, during its upcoming examination of the UK’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All of the firm’s trainees undertake outdoor clerking work, including filing and issuing of documents at court and occasionally appearing before the duty Master to make applications.
The firm prides itself on its ability to share skills and offer effective and supportive supervision. Trainee positions with the firm are inevitably busy and demanding and the successful candidate will need to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of his/her own action lists. The firm provides support for trainees to help them build resilience as they enter the profession.
We operate a number of procedures to ensure effective collective working including detailed case and file management procedures, and an extensive library of templates, authorities and materials (including Westlaw). The successful candidate will need to be able to use these tools effectively.
From time to time, our trainee solicitors are required to assist with general office duties such as reception and telephone duties as and when the need arises.
Like other publicly funded practices, Bhatt Murphy works to tight profit margins and requires the commitment and contribution of all members of staff to ensure the viability of the firm.
Commitment to publicly funded legal representation, human rights, civil liberties and social justice, including empathy with Bhatt Murphy and Article 39’s goals and ethos
Ability to communicate effectively with the client groups you will be working with
Ability to contribute to the team working ethos of Bhatt Murphy and Article 39, including sensitivity to the needs of others
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to analyse factual and legal issues and to understand and apply legal principles
Ability to prioritise and work efficiently under pressure
Problem solving ability and intellectual rigour
Experience of working in a law firm or similar environment
Experience of one or more of the areas of work involved
Experience of human rights and/or social justice campaigning either in a personal capacity or work role
Understanding of the principles and provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child