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 range: £20,500 to £40,000

How to become a court legal adviser

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You may be able to start as a trainee legal adviser if you’ve passed the academic training stages to qualify as a solicitor or barrister. You can find out more about this from The Law Society.

As a trainee, you would complete the Judicial College Legal Adviser Induction Training Programme. This can take around 2 years.

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got some of the relevant experience and knowledge needed for this role.

You’ll usually need to be a fully qualified solicitor, and have experience as a magistrate. Employers may also look for customer service and administration skills.

More information

Further information

The Bar Council and The Law Society have more information about legal careers and training.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work in a court or in an office.

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 Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (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.

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