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Court legal adviser Court clerk, assistant to justices' clerk

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Court legal advisers are trained lawyers who advise magistrates and district judges about the law.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,500 to £43,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

To work as a legal adviser, you must be a fully qualified solicitor or barrister.

Previous experience as a magistrate could help you get a job.

You'll need a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to explain complex laws and procedures
  • excellent presentation, IT and organisational skills
  • problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt quickly to change

3. What you'll do

You'll be employed by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to work in magistrates' courts.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • managing court schedules to make the best use of time and resources
  • preparing for court sessions and making sure evidence is ready
  • advising magistrates on the law and procedures
  • making sure defendants understand how the court works
  • reading charges to the court
  • identifying and researching legal issues during hearings
  • helping with the decision-making process using a formal method
  • training administrative staff and magistrates

4. Salary

Starter: £20,500 to £29,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £43,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work standard office hours, Monday to Friday.

You'll work at a magistrates' court and spend your time in court rooms and offices. You may need to work from several courts in a particular area.

6. Career path and progression

The legal adviser career structure has 5 levels, known as tiers. On any tier, you could become a mentor. To move up, you'll need to prove your ability in your current role.

With 5 years' experience, you could become a deputy district judge or district judge (magistrates' courts). With more experience, you could become a justices' clerk (running several courts).

You could also apply for legal and non-legal secondments within the wider departments of HMCTS, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies.

Another option is to move into private practice as a solicitor or barrister, or join the Crown Prosecution Service as a crown prosecutor or crown advocate.

The Bar Council and The Law Society have more information on careers in law.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018