Commission for Older People For Northern Ireland (COPNI)

Legal Officer

Location UK / Belfast

Job Type Permanent full-time

Salary See description

Updated 5 days ago

Reference 1440568

 Job Description

Excellent opportuinity for Legal Officer based in Belfast.

Post:  Legal Officer

Reports to:   Head of Legal and Policy Advice

Job Purpose

The post holder supports the Head of Legal and Policy Advice by managing and leading the organisation’s casework and legal affairs.

The Legal Officer works closely with the Commissioner, Chief Executive, Head of Legal and Policy Advice, and stakeholder organisations and it is therefore imperative that effective working relationships are developed and fostered.

The Legal Officer is expected to contribute effectively to the achievement of organisational goals and objectives by providing and overseeing the Commission’s function of case review. The post holder will also be expected to contribute significantly to broader organisational objectives based on their involvement and responsibilities for policy/procedural review, continuous improvement, research & development and stakeholder focus.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Formulate and oversee the maintenance of the COPNI’s legal assistance and casework, in line with the COPNI’s overall policies.
  2. Ensure the development of systems and processes to ensure effective handling of applications for legal assistance from COPNI within financial and strategy criteria.
  3. Ensure the appropriate procedures, controls and structures are in place for the effective, efficient management of casework and monitor their outputs and outcomes.
  4. Undertake and manage legal research and produce recommendations to government for legislative change.
  5. Formulate and oversee the maintenance of the COPNI’s strategic approach to the selection and conduct of formal investigations.
  6. Ensure appropriate action is taken to minimise risk of judicial review when conducting formal investigations.
  7. Ensure cost effective and efficient conduct of formal investigations.
  8. Ensure the establishment and maintenance of effective systems and processes in respect of investigations and complaints arising in respect of S75 Northern Ireland Act, both individual and Commission generated.
  9. Develop and deliver business plans and programmes of work for the Legal Division.
  10. Provide high quality leadership to the Legal Division, ensuring that any line managed staff are effectively motivated, managed and developed and that appropriate arrangements are in place for supervision and appraisal.
  11. Ensure that services provided are responsive, flexible, cost effective, and delivered within an appropriate timescale using established organisational and management systems.
  12. Demonstrate a high level of personal integrity and maintain professional standards throughout the Legal Division.
  13. Responsible for developing and maintaining effective communication within the Legal Division and with the rest of the organisation.
  14. Provide effective, timely advice and information to the Commissioner, Chief Executive, members of the Senior Management Team and the broader COPNI team.
  15. Establish good working relationships and effective communication with the sponsoring government department.
  16. All staff are expected to comply with Data Protection, Freedom of Information and COPNI requirements relating to documentation and record keeping.
  17. Undertake any other duties on behalf of COPNI as assigned by the Commissioner/Chief Executive or Head of Legal and Policy Advice, as appropriate to the grade.
  18. Uphold the values of the Commission in terms of its commitment to promoting awareness of the interests of older people and listening to and involving older people in key aspects of the Commissioner’s work
  19. To participate in COPNI’s performance management process, via completion of an annual Personal development Plan and Personal Performance agreement.
  20. Members of staff are expected at all times to provide the appropriate service and to treat those with whom they come into contact in a courteous and respectful manner.
  21. All duties are carried out in compliance with COPNI’s Health and Safety Policy and statutory requirements.
  22. COPNI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All staff are required to adhere to COPNI’s Equal Opportunities Policy throughout the course of employment.
  23. Ensure the confidence of the public in COPNI, staff must ensure they maintain the highest standards of personal accountability.
  24. All staff are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to promote equality of opportunity between:-
  • Persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status and sexual orientation;
  • Men and women generally;
  • Persons with a disability and persons without; and
  • Persons with dependants and persons without.

The above is given as a broad range of duties and is not intended to be a complete description of all tasks. It is important to note that the responsibilities may change to meet the evolving needs of COPNI.



  • Possess a degree in law or legal studies or of which law is the major component accompanied by another subject


  • Are a solicitor or barrister who currently holds or is entitled to hold a certificate to practice in the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland


  • Have at least three year’s PQE.


  • Experience of researching and drafting legal policy papers. In this context legal policy means the examination of the law taking account of social, economic and other relevant factors’
  • Experience of handling investigations and enquiries leading to legal casework.
  • One year’s experience of managing an individual or team.
  • An understanding of issues affecting older people covered by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland’s remit.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in order to discharge their responsibility for both case review and additional functions as outlined within the job description.



  • Knowledge and understanding of alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Health and Social Care systems and services as pertains to older people.
  • The ability to foster and maintain effective relationships with external stakeholders in order to effectively represent the Commission and/or COPNI.

Please click here for Candidate information

To Apply please click the APPLY NOW button below to be directed to our website.

Closing date: Friday 27th September 2019