Position: Public Solicitor’s Office Adviser – Australia Solomon Islands Partnership for Justice (ASIPJ)
Location: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Reports to: Deputy Team Leader
Term: Fixed, commencing 15 August 2022 – 30 June 2023 (extension option: until the end of program 31 December 2025)
The Australia Solomon Islands Partnership for Justice (ASIPJ) is the third program of Australian support to the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) justice sector. Its goal is to work closely with the SIG to enable justice agencies to maintain delivery of their existing, core activities while clearly identifying and engaging with fundamental problems and critical issues affecting their ability to contribute to stability and offer access to justice for citizens.
Subject to a finalised design, ASIPJ will be delivered through five key workstreams: Maintaining core delivery functions, supporting justice sector leadership, solving problems to drive sector coordination, taking an action-oriented approach to learning about how to expand access to justice, and Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL). It is a four-year program with an option to extend to eight years, following a predecessor program, the Australia Solomon Islands Justice Program (SIJP).
ASIPJ will be locally-led, problem-oriented and learning driven. It will be pragmatic and practical, adaptable, and mainstream Gender Equity, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI). Deloitte is the Managing Contractor, leading an exciting coalition for change that includes Adam Smith International – providing the Operations Hub, Ninti One – for its Indigenous expertise and The University of Queensland (UQ) – to support critical research and knowledge generation.
Roles and Responsibilities
The role will mentor and develop the capacity of individual PSO counterparts to effectively, and with increasing independence over time, to:
- Research and prepare legal advice on criminal, civil, family and environmental matters; review evidence and prepare for court testimony; and draft relevant legal documentation such as submissions, applications, sworn statements, etc.;
- Provide effective advice and assistance to clients in relation to domestic violence and family law matters;
- Engage and meet with clients and witnesses in an appropriately sensitive yet effective manner, including for youth, survivors of gender-based violence and people living with disabilities;
- Interpret relevant statutory provisions, court rulings and judgments;
- Communicate and negotiate effectively with other justice agencies, including court staff, prosecutors, the private bar, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and others.
In undertaking the above, the adviser will, on a regular basis, accompany PSO lawyers to court to observe their appearance work. This will be done with the objective of identifying areas where improvements can be made to their case preparation and approach; legal knowledge and practice; and advocacy skills.
The adviser will apply observations gleaned from court appearances, together with interactions with individual lawyers, to identify opportunities for more focused mentoring and to tailor appropriate training, continuing legal education (CLE) and professional development opportunities. Under the direction of the Public Solicitor, the adviser will play an active role in developing weekly CLE sessions for the cohort of PSO lawyers. These will be orientated towards the practical elements of court appearance work with an underlying focus of improving lawyers case preparation and advocacy skills.
In addition, working under the direction of the Public Solicitor, the adviser will strengthen the organisational and institutional capacity of the PSO. Amongst other tasks, this will entail:
- Developing and implementing efficient, effective and accountable office processes and policies in support of a productive, professional office environment;
- Strengthening relationships with other justice sector agencies and bodies, particularly the National Judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Police Prosecutions Department, the Solomon Islands Bar Association, in order to instill a culture of mutual respect, collegiality and professionalism;
- Examining and implementing (as appropriate and agreed) strategies to improve office attendance rates and encourage the attraction and retention of talent within the PSO;
- Collaborating with the ASIPJ GEDSI adviser (once engaged) and ASIPJ partner programs, particularly the UNDP Access to Justice Project, to help improve access to justice for Solomon Islands’ citizens, including vulnerable/marginal groups;
- Collaborating with the ASIPJ JIMS adviser to mainstream and deepen the use of the Justice Information Management System (JIMS) within the PSO, including encouraging and assisting all relevant staff to enter data in JIMS and use JIMS effectively;
- Encouraging the use of JIMS as a management and performance information and planning tool for the PSO as a whole and for individual staff; and
- Working with relevant ASIPJ staff and advisers and PSO counterparts on matters of communication, data collection and retention, learning and research.
The PSO adviser may be asked to undertake other duties as directed by the Public Solicitor and/or the ASIPJ Team Leader/Deputy Team Leader.
- Workplan: within three weeks of commencement, a detailed workplan, canvassing a period to be agreed, which will list adviser supported activities, including, inter alia, inputs, outputs/deliverables and expected outcomes.
- Quarterly Reports in a format agreed with the Team Leader and/or Deputy Team Leader that describe progress during the reporting period, and that highlights issues, risks and opportunities.
- Exception Reports when required.
- Exit Report including a frank assessment of progress against this terms of reference, a concise situational analysis, and recommendations to inform decisions around future ASIPJ support to the PSO and the justice sector as a whole.
- Other deliverables as advised.
All reports will be provided to the ASIPJ Team Leader and/or Deputy Team Leader.
- Extensive experience as a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction with criminal, family and civil law experience.
- Demonstrated capacity to contribute to organisational reform and develop mechanisms/systems that promote core service delivery improvements.
- Demonstrated high-level communication skills in a cross-cultural setting, including highly developed advocacy skills; demonstrated negotiation skills; and the capacity to effectively convey complex legal information to non-specialists. This will include a demonstrated ability to liaise and communicate effectively with people from varied cultural and marginalised backgrounds.
- A demonstrated ability to build the capacity of a team, including mentoring, coaching and professional development.
- A sound understanding (or the capacity to quickly acquire an understanding) of Solomon Islands or Pacific development context.
- Tertiary qualification in law and/or current practicing certificate in a relevant common law jurisdiction.
Some provincial travel may be required.
How to apply
Please submit your application before 22 of July 2022 11:59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) to: firstname.lastname@example.org and copy Rami Alkhatib at Rami.Alkhatib@adamsmithinternational.com Please use the following title: Application for Public Solicitor’s Office Adviser.
Applications should include two pages cover letter addressing the job specifications and required qualifications and experience, a CV of no more than four pages and two professional referees.
APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY A THIRD PARTY WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
Adam Smith International values a diverse workforce and encourages applications from candidates of all background, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisers, as well as Solomon Islanders and regional advisers.