Come join our super team in Malawi! We are looking for someone to serve as our judiciary programme lawyer. Details, below. 

IRLI Programme Lawyer Job Description

1. Overview

Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI) is a project-orientated, non-profit rule of law organisation established by the Law Society of Ireland and The Bar of Ireland. Originally founded in 2007, the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the Bar of Northern Ireland joined in 2015. The organisation has collaborated with academics, judges, legal practitioners, policymakers and civil society around the world to advance collective knowledge of the relationship between rule of law, democracy, sustained economic development and human rights.

Programme Title IRLI Malawi ‘Access to Justice’ Programme

IRLI Position Title IRLI Programme Lawyer within the Judiciary

Location, Country Lilongwe, Malawi

Start Date Immediately

Length of Contract Until October 2022 (with probability of yearly


Days per week 5

2. Programme Description

Since August 2011, IRLI has been working in Malawi to address capacity challenges within the criminal justice sector, with the overall aim of promoting the rule of law and improving access to justice for unrepresented and particularly vulnerable persons. One of the main barriers to access to justice in Malawi is that key institutions operating within the criminal justice sector lack the knowledge, capacity and resources to fulfil their roles and responsibilities in relation to accused persons. To address this, IRLI has developed a placement programme whereby Programme Lawyers (PLs) are strategically placed inside the key institutions in the Malawian criminal justice system: the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); the Malawi Police Services (MPS) and the Judiciary. PLs work directly to increase knowledge and capacity by providing workshop training and capacity building sessions as well as offering long-term day to day mentoring. In addition, PLs support the institutions by influencing policies and practices according to human rights as well as supporting networking and stakeholders’ alliances.

IRLI’s work in Malawi targets the relationship between access to justice mechanisms for vulnerable people and a quality legal/judicial response based on the rule of law. Working to improve access to justice, using a human rights-based approach, is essential for bringing about positive social change for those persons who are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.

3. Programme Objectives

The overall aim of the programme is to see improved access to justice for unrepresented vulnerable persons in the criminal justice system in the Central Region of Malawi.

There are two specific objectives:

• to increase the institutional capacity to provide sufficient services to people in conflict with the law according to principle of due process and human rights

• to ensure the enjoyment of due process rights including legal representation and restorative justice to persons held in police custody and detainees in the Central Region of Malawi

4. Organisational Context

IRLI’s programme lawyers in the LAB, MPS, DPP and the Judiciary are under the direct supervision of the Country Programme Manager in Malawi, and the Director of Programmes working from IRLI HQ, the Programme Lawyer will further develop the linkages which have been established with the relevant institution they are assigned to.

IRLI’s office is based in Lilongwe Area #3, however the Programme Lawyer will be required to work independently for most of the time and will be based primarily at a desk within the institution to which they are assigned, while attending weekly team meetings at the IRLI office as well as other programme related meetings as required and requested by the Country Programme Manager.

The Programme Lawyer will have responsibility for the organisation and implementation of activities and achievement of results according to IRLI’s Results Framework and Programme Execution Plan and will report directly to the Country Programme Manager, who has responsibility for overall management and oversight of the project including the team on the ground.

5. Role and responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Country Programme Manager, the Programme Lawyer will have the following tasks and responsibilities:

• Organise targeted interactive trainings for magistrates, predominantly focusing on fundamental legal concepts

• Organise training workshops for judicial support staff;

• Carry out visits to rural district courts to provide technical assistance to magistrates and monitor and observe court procedure. Compile report on findings to present to Chief Resident Magistrate;

• Work with local partners to conduct Judicial Reviews, a process whereby cases of vulnerable people who are serving time in prison are reviewed by the High Court, so that they may be granted a suspended sentence/early release;

• Liaise with Central Region Judges and the Chief Resident Magistrate to identify gaps appropriate for IRLI intervention;

• Liaise with Assistant Registrar of the Central Region to offer data collection assistance in relation to the confirmation procedure;

• Liaise with relevant stakeholders to enhance access to law reports and precedent.

• Assist the other PLs in improving criminal justice chain practices and procedures;

• Assist the IRLI team in general in the organisation and implementation of general programme activities where the need arises; Working with local partners;

• Grant/proposal writing and report writing for IRLI activities;

• Budget management of IRLI activities;

• Maintain organisational log frame, contribute to workplans, undertake data collection and analysis for M&E purposes

6. Qualifications, skills and personal characteristics

Qualified solicitor/barrister/lawyer/attorney with at least 2 years’ post-qualification experience in criminal law or human rights law or masters degree or higher in law, human rights, development or similar field, with extensive experience working in legal/development/human rights context

• Experience preparing, working with and managing budgets

• Experience in proposal/report writing

• Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) experience

• Experience working in the Global South (desirable)

• Excellent computer and data analysis skills (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.)

• Excellent managerial and organisational skills

• Excellent diplomacy and negotiation skills

• Strong ability to motivate others

• Ability to work independently but also as part of a team

• Fluency in written and spoken English is essential, Fluency in Chichewa is an asset

• Excellent communication skills, written and oral

• Ability to adapt quickly to a new cultural environment

• Exceptional time management and problem-solving skills

• Team spirit, flexibility, commitment to IRLI’s values and human rights (particularly those of children), initiative and creativity to further develop the activities and IRLI’s programme

• Full driving license (essential)

Applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae and Cover letter 5pm (Central Africa Time) on Friday 17th June to [email protected]

All applicants should ensure their cover letter is tailored to their specific position.


Donate today!