Legal and Policy Assistant , Fair Trials Europe

Brussels, Belgium

POST TITLE: Legal and Policy Assistant
RESPONSIBLE TO: Regional Director ‐ Europe
LOCATION: Rue des Deux Eglises 39
B‐1000 Brussels
(with regular overseas travel)
HOURS: Full time (35 hours per week). Evening and weekend work will be required from time to time
SALARY: €30,000 to €36,000 gross (including holiday pay and 13th month)


As part of the charity’s legal and policy team in Europe, to provide assistance for Fair Trials’ work to improve respect for fair trial rights through a wide range of legal activities, including: assistance in individual cases, legal publications, research, strategic litigation, policy work, training, capacity building and the coordination of the LEAP network  ‐ an active EU‐wide network of criminal justice experts.



  • Undertaking legal research to inform policy positions, for publications, training and meeting materials and to assist with planning and fundraising for future work;
  • Developing research tools for collating LEAP input on legal and policy issues and where otherwise required in the context of project work.

Casework and assistance

  • Assisting with the receipt and processing of incoming requests for help to ensure the ongoing and timely provision of advice, assistance and referrals to help people exercise their right to a fair trail within Europe;
  • Assisting with the production and maintenance of notes of advice and information;
  • Assisting with the development and documentation of individual cases for public campaigns, policy submissions and/or impact litigation;
  • Maintaining accurate and complete hard‐copy case files and electronic records.

Policy work

  • Monitoring domestic and regional legal developments to identify, for discussion with the Regional Director and Legal and Policy Officers, potential opportunities to inform relevant legislative processes, working with network members where appropriate;
  • Assisting with the production (drafting, formatting, proof‐reading and printing) and dissemination of briefings, reports, communiques, meeting and training materials and the LEAP bulletin.

Strategic litigation

  • Monitoring regional and domestic courts to identify, for discussion with the Regional Director and Legal and Policy Officers, potential opportunities for litigation which will further Fair Trials’ strategic aims;
  • Supporting the production of third‐party interventions and amicus curiae briefs.

Networks and training

  • Coordinating the day‐to‐day management of the LEAP network, including by maintaining accurate records of membership and identifying potential new members, coordinating correspondence, scheduling phone calls and meetings and coordinating follow‐up;
  • Engaging the LEAP network in wider advocacy and assistance work, including by:
    • Gathering evidence from LEAP members on domectic criminal justice law and practice and the implementation of EU standards;
    • Helping to engage LEAP members in joint advocacy activities, including joint submissions and meetings with policy‐makers;
    • Coordinating the contribution of LEAP members to assistance notes and information on local referrals for suspects and defendants.
  • Contributing to the development and delivery of Fair Trials’ online and in‐person training courses for lawyers and other experts.

Project coordination

  • Supporting the Regional Director and Legal and Policy Officer(s) in the development and delivery of partnership projects;
  • Managing the day‐to‐day relationships with project partners and the delivery of project activities;
  • Working with the Finance Officer on the financial management of legal and policy projects;  
  • Contributing to the drafting of fuding applications and funder reports.


  • Assisting with the effective communication of the work of Fair Trials Europe and the LEAP network by producing, reviewing and gathering content for the Fair Trials website, newsletter, campaign materials, funder narrative reports and legal press;
  • Working with the Operations and Communications Officer on public campaigns.


  • Ensure that the contacts database contains accurate and up to date information on legal and policy contacts;
  • Carry out any other duties commensurate with the post;
  • Promote and implement Fair Trials’ equal opportunities policy in all aspects of work.



  • The right to work in Belgium;
  • Legal training to at least degree level;
  • A good understanding of fair trial issues, criminal law and/or international human rights;
  • Highly organised and systematic with effective time‐management skills;
  • Excellent attention to detail;
  • Excellent communication skills – verbal and written;
  • A quick learner used to working well under pressure;
  • Self‐confident and an ability to take the initiative, manage own time and workload;
  • A team‐player and a willingness to be flexible according to the current demands of the charity;
  • Sympathetic to the goals of the charity;
  • Willingness to travel.


  • Language skills (fluency in French and English would be a distinct advantage);
  • Previous experience of project coordination;
  • Previous experience of scrutinising legislation, policy proposals and legal decisions;
  • Previous experience of events planning and coordination.

About Fair Trials

Fair Trials is an international human rights NGO, which exists to build respect for the human right to a fair trial in criminal cases. It pursues its vision of a world where every person’s right to a fair trial is respected by: (a) providing information and referrals to accused people; (b) coordinating a growing network of fair trial defenders and delivering legal training; and (c) tackling the big issues in criminal justice through research, campaigns, policy work and litigation.

Fair Trials Europe

Fair Trials has become a leading contributor to exciting developments in the field of criminal justice across the European Union. Fair Trials Europe was established as a nonprofit public foundation in Belgium in 2014, to act as Fair Trials’ hub of expertise in Europe. It is, itself, at the heart of an engaged EU-wide network of over 150 criminal justice and human rights experts (the Legal Experts Advisory Panel, LEAP) which it coordinates. Fair Trials Europe is now ready to expand its activities, grow its staff team and to become more operationally and financially independent.

The office and the team

Fair Trials currently has offices in London and Brussels (Fair Trials Europe), and is due to open a base in Washington, D.C. in Autumn 2016. Its staff structure comprises 15 staff, of which five will be employees of Fair Trials Europe, based in Brussels. Building on its experience and trackrecord in Europe, Fair Trials is in the process of extending the geographical reach of its work.

Salary and conditions

The post of Legal and Policy Assistant is full time. The gross salary is €30,000 to €36,000 per year. There will be 25 days’ paid holiday each year (plus bank holidays) and a 5% pension contribution. The role is based in Brussels with regular overseas travel.

To apply

Please send a CV and cover letter electronically to recruitment@fairtrials.net no later than 5pm on 29th April 2016. Applications received after this will not be considered. Please clearly include your name and “Legal and Policy Assistant” in the subject field of the email.
Your CV and cover letter should include:
  • Your name and contact details;
  • Your educational history, including universities/colleges attended with dates and significant qualifications obtained;
  • Your employment history, including all significant posts you have held – with dates, the names of the employers, and a description of the main duties, together with your present or most recent salary, and your contractual notice period. (You should also explain any significant gaps, e.g. covered by travelling, self-employment etc.);
  • An explanation of why you would like the job; the qualities you would bring to it; how you would approach the task if you were you awarded the post;
  • The names and contact details of two referees who know your work, who may be contacted if you are short-listed;
  • Information about how you learned of the post.
If you have any queries, please send them to the same email address or call Rosalyn Salmon on +44 (0)20 7822 2370.

The selection process

We will aim to inform short-listed candidates by 6th May, with interviews for short-listed candidates being held at Fair Trials’ offices in Brussels on 11th and 12th May. For those unable to attend the interview in person, Skype interviews will be possible.
Fair Trials is conducting this appointment on equal opportunity principles and will welcome applications from candidates who can fulfil the requirements of the post irrespective of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
The personal data which you have provided, and which we may request, in connection with your application, will not be retained beyond 12 months should your application be unsuccessful. If you are appointed, your personal data will only be used for the purposes of human resources management.