Head of Public Law Department (Judicial Review)

Head of Public Law Department (Judicial Review)

Head of Public Law Department (Judicial Review)

Watkins Solicitors is an award winning and busy solicitors firm specialising in Family Law, Education Law, Wills and Probate Law, Conveyancing, and Judicial Review.  Currently we have three offices with one in North Bristol, one in South Bristol and one in Bath and we also see clients by appointment in Hereford and Evesham. The firm has a Legal Aid franchise and carries out work under Legal Aid contracts for family law and Public Law (including judicial review). The firm also acts for clients on a privately paying basis.

Watkins Solicitors has an outstanding reputation as a good employer. We offer excellent employee benefits, a great working culture and exciting career opportunities. We are a friendly, sociable, and respected company with a firm belief in supporting our staff.

In line with the firm’s values, it is our aim to nurture and grow talent in-house and the successful candidate will be supported in their development and progression.

The role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced solicitor to join our Public Law department on a full- time or part- time basis. The Department is currently headed by Keith Lomax who has over 30 years’ experience in public law acting for claimants. Keith will be retiring shortly and is looking for a successor to carry on his interesting and worthwhile work.

The ideal candidate will have experience dealing with Judicial Review. Experience in dealing with Community Care is an advantage, with opportunities to develop this area of work. They will be value-driven, dynamic and passionate about their role and looking for a long-term placement in which they can grow the department.

The department currently deals with a wide range of Judicial Review matters including education, planning, and environment. Many Judicial Review matters arise from our education department which works closely with Keith to provide a broad service to clients.

Main responsibilities

  • Responsible for all aspects of Public Law work including providing technical expertise and guidance to other team members
  • Manage and supervise Trainee Solicitors and Paralegals to manage appropriate caseload types and complexities
  • Assisting with delivery of appropriate training and development in the department and in the firm
  • Conducting Public Law work on behalf of claimants/appellants including judicial review, statutory appeals, challenges in the Upper Tribunal
  • Liaising with clients and counsel
  • Preparing and managing funding applications to the Legal Aid Agency, amendments to certificates, and managing costs of proceedings
  • Preparing draft documents including pleadings, applications, witness statements, draft orders, and processing evidence
  • Marshalling/organising documents appropriately for subsequent use in litigation
  • Preparation of bundles for issuing proceedings, for interim and final hearings (including e-bundles and hard copy bundles)
  • Conducting judicial review pre-action protocol
  • Preparing, issuing and serving judicial review claims, and conducting claims to conclusion
  • Attending conferences and court (whether virtual or in person), with court hearings being held at any of the Administrative Court regional centres
  • Reporting directly to Partners
  • Growing the department and gaining new business

Essential criteria

  • A qualified solicitor with a minimum of 3 years PQE or equivalent
  • Experience supervising and guiding junior members of staff
  • Experience in conducting Judicial Review claims
  • Experience using IT software
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong written skills
  • Strong organisational skills 
  • Committed team player
  • Value driven, with a commitment to pursuing fundamental human rights and justice for vulnerable people

Desirable criteria

  • Experience running a department
  • Experience of case management software
  • Experience of other public law challenges such as statutory appeals and appeals in the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Chamber)
  • Experience of conducting and supervising Community Care matters

Our offer

In return you can expect a rewarding career, as we believe in looking after our employees which is why we offer a great flexible work policy to help you balance your personal and professional lives.  Continual training is very much supported by the firm and the firm has developed an extensive in-house training scheme.

The initial training will be provided in our North Street office and remotely. However, following a probationary period there may be the opportunity to work flexibly from home.

Benefits we offer

  • Minium of 25 Days holiday per year plus bank holidays (pro rata for part time staff)
  • Extra holiday allowance after 5 years service
  • Employer pension contribution if you join the pension scheme
  • Discounted legal services
  • Flexible working and in suitable roles the ability to work from home
  • Health Cash Plan with MediCash
  • Cycle to work scheme.
  • Recognition rewards on your first and second work anniversary

Salary dependant on experience

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter to Kate Ford kford@watkinssolicitors.co.uk. Interviews will take place remotely via Teams.

This firm welcomes applications from all sections of the community irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.