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About the fellowship

The Fair Trial Fellowship (“the Fellowship”) is an opportunity for young lawyers and social workers to assist in providing quality legal representation to undertrial prisoners. The Fellowship will train and mentor a group of young professionals to work in collaboration with the State Legal Services Authority towards ensuring fair trial for undertrial prisoners at both pre-trial and trial stages. The Fellowship is being currently rolled out for work in Nagpur and Pune Central prisons.

Nearly 70% of India’s prison population are undertrial prisoners and there is widespread agreement that a large proportion of that population should not be in prison. The Fellowship is designed with the understanding that providing good quality and competent legal representation for undertrial prisoners at the early stages of their trial or at the pre-trial stage can ensure the realisation of rights and protections inbuilt in the law.

The Fellowship is based on the core understanding that the existing legal aid system implemented through the NALSA and its subsidiary bodies has the greatest outreach amongst persons requiring free legal aid in custody. Thus, providing assistance, in terms of qualified personnel and technical resources to the existing system, is a much needed step towards providing the best possible legal representation to the undertrial prisoners.   

The Fellowship has been instituted with the following objectives:

  • To provide quality legal representation to undertrial prisoners and handhold the inmates through the legal proceedings.

  • To provide support to District Legal Services Authority and strengthen mechanisms for providing free legal aid to persons in custody.

  • To train, mentor and build capacities of young professionals for improving quality of socio-legal services within the Criminal Justice System in the district.

 
 

How the fellowship works

The Fellowship proposes to identify, train, mentor and sustain a group of 10 Legal Fellows and 5 Social Work Fellows in each location (i.e. Pune and Nagpur) who in turn will assist panel lawyers of the DLSA towards providing effective and competent legal representation to undertrial prisoners.

The work of the fellows will be focussed on ensuring that the legal aid machinery under the DLSA reaches every undertrial prisoner and that the quality of the representation provided by the DLSA in all cases is of expected standard.

Before being deployed on the field, fellows will undergo a comprehensive training for four months which will include residential training in classroom teaching mode as well as on-field mentoring by practicing advocates. The work of the fellows in each location will be anchored by a Legal Strategy Co-ordinator, who would mentor and supervise the work of the fellows throughout the duration of the fellowship.  The Fellows will also have access to a panel of local lawyers as experts from whom guidance may be sought in specific cases.

Legal interventions under the initiative will be in collaboration with the DLSA. The Legal Fellows will be assigned cases of undertrial prisoners being represented by DLSA panel lawyers and  will be in charge of providing assistance in court hearings, legal research, drafting and prison visits (for client interviews) to the legal aid lawyer leading the case. Social Work Fellows on the other hand will focus on  crucial socio-legal field work like visiting prisons to identify persons in need of legal aid or with valid grounds for bail/early release, facilitating linkages between undertrials and DLSA, working with families of undertrials for collecting information/documents relevant to the legal proceedings and with other stakeholders in the legal process (if any like witnesses, sureties). Social Work Fellows will also work on cases where the person is out on bail to ensure that bail conditions are not defaulted upon.  

 
 
 
 
 

Who we are looking for

 Applicants for Legal Fellowship must fulfill the following eligibility criteria :

  • Minimum of one year experience of practicing at trial court level

  • Registration as a practicing advocate (Sanad) with Bar Council of any state in India

  • Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking Marathi is essential

  • Ability to read, write and speak English

  • Familiarity with the use of MS-Office, emails and the internet  

  • Prior work experience in criminal litigation and/or work with the District Legal Services Authority is desirable.

Applicants for Social Work Fellowship must fulfill the following eligibility criteria :

  • Post-graduate qualification in social work (M.A. in Social Work/MSW) or any other Helping Professions/Social Science/Humanities subject or related areas from a Central/Deemed/State-Recognised University

  • Minimum of one year experience (full time) in intervention work at the grassroot level.

  • Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking Marathi is essential

  • Ability to read, write and speak English

  • Familiarity with the use of MS-Office, emails and the internet  

  • Prior work experience within institutions in the criminal justice system is desirable.

What we expect from you

 Role of Legal Fellows

  • Visit prison with the duty counsels of the DLSA and provide legal counselling to inmates requiring legal aid.

  • Co-ordinate with DLSA and authorities from Prison Department to ensure allocation of DLSA Panel Lawyer for undertrials who do not have any legal representation.

  • Brief and assist panel lawyer of the DLSA assigned on a case during court hearings at both pre-trial and trial stage.

  • Regular Prison visits to seek instructions from undertrial client on behalf of the DLSA Panel Lawyers.

  • Review documents brought on record in a case, provide research inputs and devise legal strategy in consultation with the DLSA Panel Lawyer concerned.

  • Assist the DLSA panel lawyer in drafting legal documents to be submitted at both pre-trial and trial stage.

  • Follow-up ongoing cases in court and update undertrial prisoners and/or the family members concerned

  • Regularly communicate with prison authorities to obtain case specific information and documents.

  • Prepare the client (undertrial)  for recording of statement under Section 313 of Cr.PC and where required,  leading defence evidence

  • Prepare written arguments based on the evidence for the final submissions  before the court

  • Travel as required to meet and communicate with family members of undertrial prisoners and other persons who may have oral and documentary information relevant to the case procedure.

  • Organise and conduct training workshops and conferences.

  • Documentation and Reporting as per programmatic needs.

  • Any other work that may be necessary to further the aims of the Fellowship Programme.

Role of Social Work Fellows

  • Visit the Prisons, interact with undertrial prisoners, identify individuals who need legal aid from the DLSA and support them in writing applications to DLSA.

  • Identify undertrial prisoners entitled for bail/early release and refer such cases to the DLSA and the Prison Authorities.  

  • Socio-legal case work interventions and handhold undertrial prisoners through the legal proceedings at both pre-trial and trial stage.

  • Home visits and work with families of undertrials in gathering information/documents relevant to their case.

  • Co-ordinate with other authorities if required for gathering relevant documents like age proof, address proof, medical certificates etc.  

  • Identifying special needs of undertrials including pregnancy, claims for juvenility, disability, terminal illnesses, mental health issues etc. and organise assistance including legal assistance

  • Travel as required to meet and communicate with family members of undertrial prisoners and other persons who may have oral and documentary information relevant for mitigation of the prisoners, using the tools and techniques for communication and obtaining information devised.

  • Co-ordinating with Legal Fellows and provide relevant socio-legal inputs in individual cases.    

  • Case Documentation with details of interventions for cases handled

  • Organise training workshops and conferences.

  • Documentation and Reporting as per programmatic needs.

  • Any other work that may be necessary to further the aims of the Fellowship Programme.

Remuneration

The Fellows will be engaged on a full-time basis, and paid Rs. 30,000 per month. The Fellowship will be for three years and Fellows will not be permitted to undertake work outside of the Fellowship.

 
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APPLICATION PROCEDURE

  • All interested candidates are required to send a copy of their resumé and a statement of purpose by email to p39a@nludelhi.ac.in. The Statement of purpose should not exceed 700 words. The subject of the e-mail should indicate the category of fellowship applied for as - “Fair Trial Fellowship - Application for Legal Fellowship” or “Fair Trial Fellowship - Application for Social Work Fellowship” depending on the choice and eligibility of the candidate.

  • Subject to fulfilling applicable eligibility criteria, candidates will be shortlisted for the first round of selection, on the basis of their work profile and statement of purpose.

  • The selection procedure will be conducted in two stages :

  1.  Round One will comprise a written test to assess knowledge and application of law/ principles of social work  intervention of the applicants.
  2. Round Two will involve a personal interview of candidates shortlisted from Round One.

Dates and venue of selection rounds will be intimated to shortlisted candidates via email.

  • Candidates will be selected based on their performance in both the rounds. Selected candidates will be intimated by email.

  • Selected Candidates will be required to submit self-attested copies of all marksheets/degrees relating to eligibility criteria and provide original documents for verification at the time of joining. Final Selection of the candidate will be subject to the verification of documents.

INDICATIVE TIMELINE

  • Applications Open for Fellowship - May 5,2018

  • Last Date for submission of Applications - May 31,2018

  • Start Date for Fellowship - July 1, 2018