24183 - Higher Courts Advocate

£49,802 - £80,756 (Salary dependant on base location)
12 Months
East Midlands, London, Wales, West Midlands
Birmingham , Cheltenham , London , Pontypridd , Swansea
Grade 7, Grade 6
Full Time
Legal Services

Location: South Wales, London, Midlands (Travel across England and Wales will be required)


The Public Defender Service (PDS) is a department of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) that operates alongside private providers delivering a full range of high-quality services within the criminal-defence market.

Advocates are briefed both by in-house Solicitors and Solicitors in private practice to conduct cases before the Crown Court, Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. They deal with matters of all types, complexity, sensitivity and gravity.

The post holder will provide advice, assistance and representation to individuals who are subject to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence, with particular emphasis on advocacy relating to serious, complicated and sensitive criminal casework in the Crown Court and the Superior Courts.

The post holder will be part of an effective defence-litigation team, preparing and managing case plans, acting as sole Advocate or being led as Junior Counsel.

As a result of the experience gained from its participation in these areas, the PDS contributes credible and expert advice to the government on service and policy development affecting the criminal-justice system and acts as a test-bed for innovation and quality improvements.

Job description

  • Conduct criminal cases before courts at all levels throughout England and Wales to the highest professional standards.
  • Act as sole Advocate or be led as Junior Advocate in relation to a range of Higher Court cases and Judicial Reviews (i.e. cases/applications before the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court) including complex, serious and sensitive cases, where fast-paced, legally-sound decision-making and advocacy are required.
  • Utilise a high level of up-to-date knowledge of criminal law and procedure, including in relation to complex, serious and sensitive cases, and procedure in the higher courts.
  • Upon reviewing prosecution evidence and receiving instructions from clients, conduct analysis and decide on case management strategies, including defence tactics, procurement of defence evidence – including expert witnesses - and the provision of plea and defence advice to defendants.
  • Provide leadership in tactic and case planning as part of a defence litigation team.
  • Decide upon the merits of appealing convictions and sentences and provide advice and representation to clients on appeals and judicial reviews in the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
  • Maintain excellent working relationships within the PDS and the wider LAA/MoJ, sharing expertise and knowledge, and informing policy-making and changes to the Criminal Justice System with experience gained in your practice.
  • Act as a role model for other Advocates and team members, including providing training and mentoring to colleagues.
  • Pursue own professional development.

Skills & Qualifications

You will be expected to evidence the following:


  • Barrister or Solicitor-Advocate with a minimum of five years PQE, fully qualified to practise in England & Wales and with substantial criminal-law practice experience in the Higher Courts.
  • Advanced advocacy skills.
  • Ability to establish a rapport with criminal-defence clients.
  • Commitment to the goal of PDS to become an exemplar of best practice in criminal advocacy.
  • Flexibility and preparedness to travel if required.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on 'modernised' terms in their current post or onto 'unmodernised' MoJ terms if they are on 'unmodernised' terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Generous allowances for paid holiday starting at 25 days per year, and rising as your service increases. There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.


The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.


The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as salary sacrifice arrangements for childcare vouchers, and voluntary benefits such as retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.


The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Interviews are expected to be held in April 2019.

18/03/2019, 23:55 hours.

Closing Date: 18th March 2019 at 23:55 hours

If you require any assistance please call 0845 241 5359 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@sscl.gse.gov.uk Please quote the job reference 24183

To apply for roles in MOJ you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why. 

For some roles you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC), Security Clearance (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC/SC/DV requirements you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3/5/10 years prior to the date of application (The level of checks that are required are stated in the advert).

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:

  • You've been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
  • You were studying abroad
  • You were living overseas with parents

In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.

Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.

if you feel that your application has not been treated in line with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles, please contact SSCL (Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@sscl.gse.gov.uk) in the first instance

This Vacancy is closed to applications.