Legal Assistant: Ukraine Sanctions and Reparations – Location: London or The Hague (hybrid working)
REDRESS is recruiting a Legal Assistant to support a project on Magnitsky Sanctions relating to Ukraine, together with asset recovery and repurposing of confiscated assets for the purpose of paying human rights reparations. We are seeking applications from excellent graduates in the early stages of their careers with a strong commitment to international human rights law to contribute to this work.
REDRESS has a diverse team from different backgrounds and with different experiences. Under our Equality Policy, we welcome applications from people of colour, LGBTQI+ people, and disabled people, who are currently under-represented. We will use positive action under the Equality Act 2010 to appoint from these groups if two candidates are equally qualified. We are also trying to recruit globally where UK immigration law permits it.
Who we are
REDRESS is an international human rights organisation based in London and The Hague that pursues legal claims on behalf of survivors of torture in the UK and around the world to obtain justice and reparation for violations against their human rights. We empower survivors to access justice through human rights cases against governments, civil cases against individuals, and cases where we advocate for law enforcement bodies to prosecute perpetrators under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Our approach is strategic, so that as well as representing an individual we target the policy reasons that enabled the torture to take place, by building a campaign that uses advocacy, community engagement, and communications to influence change.
Our 2025 Strategy identifies torture related to dissent and discriminatory torture as our two thematic priorities. We also support the anti-torture movement through our solidarity programme.
REDRESS has undertaken a process of growth and modernization over the last few years. You can find information about the organization in the latest Trustees Annual Report. We currently have good reserves of nearly six months running costs, and a diverse funding base. We have grown to about 30 staff, and plan to remain at a similar size while we consolidate. We have upgraded our procedures and policies, and we are developing new commitments to improve staff development, further enhance our diversity, build our survivor-centred approach, and ensure people with lived experience are part of REDRESS.
Through the Reparation programme we work to secure the delivery of effective reparation for survivors of torture, including through compensation and the introduction of practical measures to implement international standards for satisfaction, rehabilitation, non-repetition, and restitution. Through litigation and policy advocacy we develop and implement national legal frameworks that deliver reparations for individuals and communities.
Through the Justice programme we to promote access to justice for survivors of torture as an essential part of their recovery. We bring human rights cases against governments, civil cases against individuals, and criminal cases where we advocate for law enforcement bodies to prosecute perpetrators under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
The war in Ukraine has created an unprecedented will to use seized assets to pay reparations to the victims of the war. Russian dirty money has now been frozen across the world. Governments are talking about new laws to allow for the repurposing of assets. Public commitments have been made for these assets to go not to governments, but to victims and civil society. The victims and survivors of the war in Ukraine have the right to personal reparations under the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Reparation, distinct from war reparations that might be payable at an inter-state level. There is a particular need for reparation and rehabilitation for survivors of sexual violence in the conflict.
REDRESS will respond to this with a project to focus on the effective use of Magnitsky sanction in relation to Ukraine, and to push for the confiscation of assets and their repurposing as reparations. The project will build on our existing work on Magnitsky Sanctions and Asset Recovery which we have developed over the last two years, and REDRESS’ recognised expertise in reparations.
The main responsibilities of the role are to support the work of the project team to:
- Seek new designations under the UK human rights sanctions regime relating to Ukraine through drafting casefiles on core international human rights violations, including conflict-related sexual violence.
- Support partner NGOs in Ukraine.
- Undertake analysis of, and draft reports on, proposals for asset repurposing relating on Ukraine in the UK and other jurisdictions, and develop policy recommendations for their effective operation.
- Work closely with other REDRESS staff to build support for the confiscation and repurposing of assets, including into new and existing Trust Funds, including specific funds for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
- Coordinate an informal coalition of NGOs, victims’ groups, policy-makers, pro bono lawyers, and other stakeholders.
The Legal Assistant will contribute to the work of REDRESS as follows:
- Strategic Litigation. Support strategic litigation through factual and legal research and analysis, legal drafting, and by attending meetings with clients, witnesses, and partner lawyers and activists.
- Case management. Support the management of our casework by keeping electronic files and correspondence.
- Legal Policy Advocacy. Research and develop policy papers, participate in policy and project meetings with partners and stakeholders.
- Media and Communications. Support our communications work by helping to draft website entries, blog posts, and social media campaigns.
- Projects. Support specific project activities, such as developing training materials, producing litigation workshops, and organizing events.
- Support our fundraising efforts through research, participate in fundraising meetings.
- Administration. Support administrative tasks, financial requests, project management, events, and office tasks.
The position is also expected to carry out such further duties as may reasonably be required from time to time by REDRESS.
This is an entry level position, and so we will consider candidates at the beginning of their career, with some relevant experience.
The successful candidate will need to have the following competencies:
- A degree in law, international affairs, or another subject relevant to the role.
- Demonstrated commitment to and experience in human rights.
- Demonstrated competence in legal writing and editing.
- Strong legal and factual research skills.
- Able to manage projects, work with teams, and organise tasks.
- Relevant experience through internships, volunteer roles, work experience, educational work placements, or other practical experience.
- Fluency in written and oral English.
A strong candidate will also have other desirable competencies:
- Language skills in Russian/Ukrainian.
- Previous experience relating to Russia or Ukraine.
- Previous experience working on conflict-related sexual violence.
- A relevant postgraduate level degree.
- Licensed to practice law through bar membership or the equivalent.
- Knowledge of international criminal law or the law of torture.
- Knowledge of the functioning of international human rights treaty bodies UN and regional human rights mechanisms, or the ICC.
- Experience documenting cases of human rights violations or working with survivors, including survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
To work for Redress, the candidate should have the following personal attributes:
- Happy to work collaboratively as part of a small and energetic team with a wide range of personalities.
- Highly efficient and organised, with an ability to multi-task, show initiative, solve problems, and take a hands-on role when necessary.
- Able to think and work strategically, creatively, and under pressure.
- Able to understand and support the aims, objectives and values of REDRESS and reflect them in all aspects of work.
- Able to work with victims of human rights abuse with a range of specific needs.
Reporting. The position is part of the Reparation and Justice teams, and will report to the Legal Officer for Ukraine Reparations.
Hours. This is a full-time position at 35 hours a week. Evening and weekend work may be required from time to time.
Location. The position is based at the REDRESS office in London or The Hague. We may consider employing someone elsewhere on a consultancy basis.
Flexible Working. REDRESS is an “in-person” organisation and we value team work, but we have a flexible working policy which allows for working from home. Staff are asked to be in the office at least two days a week.
Salary. REDRESS has fixed salary scales, with annual cost of living increases, and the possibility of step increases with strong performance. This is an entry-level ‘assistant’ position, and the salary is either A1 (£27,182) for those who meet the experience requirement, or potentially A2 (£29,220) for those who have more experience.
Duration. The contract is for a fixed-term of 12 months, but is expected to be extended, subject to funding.
Start date. The position would start as soon as possible.
Probation. There is a six-month probationary period.
Pension. REDRESS offers a pension contribution of 10% of salary (different terms for the Hague).
Holiday. There are 25 days of holiday per year, in addition to UK public holidays. The office is also closed between Christmas and New Year (different terms for the Hague).
Status. The candidate must have the right to live and work in the UK or in the Netherlands. Unfortunately we cannot sponsor a UK immigration process for this role.
Interview process. We expect to do two rounds of interviews. We may ask candidates to make a short presentation as part of the process, but will provide information on that nearer the time.
- First round Interviews will take place on Friday 7 October and will be on-line.
- Final round interview will take place on Friday 14 October and will be in-person at our office in London.
How to Apply
Please upload to our recruitment portal a single PDF file with:
- A cover letter of no more than one page explaining (a) why you would like to work for REDRESS, (b) how you fulfil the personal specification for the role, and (c) how you will contribute to the diversity of REDRESS, (d) your preferred location.
- Your CV or resume.
Please also complete the anonymous Diversity Monitoring Form. We use the information from the form to tell us about the diversity of the applicant pool for each of the positions that we advertise. We keep the conclusions of the analysis for our records, and the underlying data is destroyed three months after the recruitment closes.
Deadline: Wednesday 28 September 2022