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Project Overview and Role:
The Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program (VAPJP) is a long-standing and integral part of Australia’s aid investments in Vanuatu, delivering policing and justice sector support. It has a hybrid modality and a joint management approach between Palladium, as Managing Contractor for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The program implements a ‘two-track’ strategy which involves pre-positioning resources to support the Government of Vanuatu (GoV) to respond to challenges to the maintenance of security and the rule of law; and building longer-term capability to provide the justice and policing services needed by communities. The program has a range of input modalities, including technical assistance, operational support and funding, training and professional development, community grants, infrastructure, and project delivery.
VAPJP entered its second 4-year phase (2021-2024) in January 2021. The implementation of VAPJP Phase Two is guided by a Design Update document.
The End of Program Outcomes (EOPOs) as articulated in the Design Update document include:
- Justice and policing agencies improve quality and reach of services to Vanuatu communities, particularly in their handling of cases involving women, children and youth.
- Women, children and youth are increasingly accessing state policing, justice and community services.
- Policing and Justice agencies maintain public security and the rule of law.
Based in the PSO, support provided by the Adviser to the PSO is intended to achieve, but is not limited to, the following overarching role objectives:
- To provide legal training, mentoring and professional development support to the PSO in the areas of family law, civil law and criminal law;
- To coordinate VAPJP supported multi-agency legal training programs and conferences, for example the Vanuatu Criminal law Conference;
- To support PSO and VAPJP legal outreach programs aimed at improving access to justice for women, children, and other vulnerable groups; and
- To support PSO lawyers with input to law reform and legal policy activities as directed by the Public Solicitor.
The Adviser to the PSO will ensure that all work carried out is done in a manner that maintains the Public Solicitor’s independence and does not risk any perceived or actual conflict-of-interest. Key functions for the position in support of the objectives above are as follows:
- On a day to day basis, build the capacity of lawyers from the PSO through modelling best practice, mentoring and skills training;
- Build the capacity of PSO officers to support vulnerable clients;
- Support the PSO to extend the reach of their lawyers to clients in provincial areas and consider other opportunities for outreach to fulfil their mandate;
- Coordinate VAPJP-supported multi-agency legal training programs and conferences aimed at building legal skills and knowledge among justice sector lawyers;
- Support the PSO to develop relationships with other Government agencies who can provide support or other therapeutic services to vulnerable clients;
- Support improved business planning, case management and Human Resource systems across the sector; and
- Collaboration as a member of a multi-disciplinary team of VAPJP Advisers with the collective responsibility of achieving the program’s EOPOs by mutually reinforcing strategies developed by the program as well as participating in processes that facilitate this
Key qualifications and experience required are as follows:
- A Law Degree and admission to practice in a relevant jurisdiction
- At least 7 years’ experience practicing as a lawyer in a combination of criminal, civil or family law with:
- Criminal law practice experience particularly with respect to sexual offences and domestic violence;
- Experience in civil law processes and applications and laws relating to families and children; and
- Extensive experience as a court advocate, legal aid lawyer, or barrister in either criminal, civil or family law in a relevant jurisdiction
- Proven ability to build productive working relationships, particularly in a management setting, and work collaboratively and respectfully in a cross-cultural setting
- Experience in case management and the mentoring and supervision of other legal officers
- Understanding of and ability to design and implement capacity development training and skills transfer activities
- Experience in preparation and delivery of legal training to lawyers
- Demonstrated ability to exercise sound professional judgement in sensitive situations
- Eligibility to obtain a Vanuatu visa
- Understanding of gender equity, disability and social inclusion in a legal environment
- Understanding of law and development issues
- Previous experience working in Melanesian cultures (desirable)
- Analytical and practical
- Personal Attributes
- Strong oral and written communication skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Tact and negotiation skills
- Cultural sensitivity
- Integrity and transparency
- Commitment to skills transfer and effective capacity development
- Willingness to consult and work in a multi-disciplinary team
- English fluency essential; French desirable
- Willingness and firm commitment to learn Bislama and use in the workplace