CSI is hiring a Legal Expert

Terms of Reference


Civil Society Institute (CSI and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are together seeking to recruit a Legal Expert/Trainer to work within CSI for ten months on capacity-development of asylum lawyers.
Within the framework of UNHCR Armenia’s strategy to engage more systematically with the judiciary in Armenia, the organization seeks to strengthen the quality of legal advice and representation made available to asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons. [Through improved legal argumentation as well as the identification and preparation of strategic litigation, UNHCR and its partners aim to provide/equip judges with the material needed for decision-making in accordance with international refugee law obligations of Armenia.]

In order to strengthen the quality of legal advice and representation, UNHCR has initiated several activities including the establishment of a refugee legal network, introduction of a refugee law curriculum at the School of Advocates, overseas experience exchange and training, and advocacy to amend the Law on Attorneyship. Civil Society Institute (CSI) is a non-governmental organization, which aims to assist and promote the establishment of a free and democratic society in Armenia. CSI works on protection of human rights of vulnerable groups, including refugees and stateless persons, civil society development, penal system reform, human rights advocacy and awareness, peace-building and conflict resolution, free elections and capacity building of various stakeholders, including the youth. 


The role of the Legal Expert/Trainer will be to provide hands-on mentoring and coaching of asylum lawyers in Armenia, with the aim of strengthening primarily the soft skills but also the refugee law arguments in presentation of asylum and other refugee or stateless related appeal proceedings. The Legal Expert/Trainer will also work closely with UNHCR Office and its NGO partners to provide support to lawyers in particular to improve the submissions in respect of cases identified as strategic for the Office. Finally, the Legal Expert/Trainer will be expected to provide quarterly analysis of challenges faced by lawyers and recommendations to overcome them.

Supervision and coordination

The legal expert will work at Civil Society Institute and will report directly to the Director of CSI?. Monthly meetings will be held with UNHCR Protection Officer and the quarterly reports will be shared with both CSI and UNHCR.

UNHCR and CSI have signed an MOU for cooperation in 2013.


  • Coaching and mentoring

1.Develop and test assessment tools for the monitoring of and providing constructive feedback to lawyers

2.Observe court hearings and provide feedback to lawyers on argumentation and presentation skills

3.Review appeal submissions and make recommendations for improvement in terms of structure, argumentation of national and international legal norms

4.Review standard operating procedures, in close consultation with UNHCR, and ensure legal advice and representation is provided as efficiently as possible

  • Strategic litigation

5.In close coordination with UNHCR, oversee the work of advocates hired to litigate strategic cases in domestic and regional courts.

6.Make recommendations for use of other advocacy tools that can be utilized to address the protection challenges raised by the cases.

  • Legal analysis and reports

7.Provide a report after three months identifying gaps and challenges in the appeal proceedings and identify recommendations for ways in which advocates can contribute to addressing those challenges.

8.Prepare brief monthly reports on activities undertaken and progress made.

Qualifications and experience

  • Degree in Law and additional professional qualification as an advocate desirable
  • Minimum 6 years of work experience as legal professional (specialized in human rights protection and/or public international law) or equivalent work experience with proven knowledge of the Armenian court procedures
  • Proven coaching and analytical skills
  • Proficiency in office software applications (Word, Excel, etc)
  • Excellent command of Armenian and English languages. Fluency in Russian an asset.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

More information about the work of UNHCR and CSI can be found online at www.unhcr.org and www.csi.am

Interested applicants should submit their CV and a motivation letter to armyeprt@unhcr.org and vacancy@csi.am by end of Friday 19 February 2016. Only successful applicants will be contacted.