Head of Legal and Programmes



The Equal Rights Trust (The Trust) is the global centre for excellence in equality law. We are a not-for-profit, non-governmental international human rights organisation which exists to eliminate discrimination and ensure everyone can participate in society on an equality basis. We work in partnership with others around the world to ensure the adoption and implementation of equality laws. We pursue our objectives through advocacy, litigation, development of resources, and movement building.

We are seeking a highly motivated qualified lawyer to join us as our new Head of Legal and Programmes. This is a fantastic opportunity for a lawyer who is looking to play an instrumental role in the development and growth of an international human rights organisation which focuses on the use of the law to achieve change. You will also use your legal skills and experience to lead the Trust’s strategic litigation and legal services work, ensure the delivery of high-quality legal research and advocacy and strengthen the expertise and capacity of our partners around the world. The role also provides an opportunity to take a central role in growing the organisation, alongside the Director and our Board of Trustees. The role will suit a highly organised individual with experience in human rights/equality law programming and excellent communications and people management skills. 

The successful candidate will be joining the organisation at a key moment in its development. Last year the Trust launched its new five-year strategy following a period of impact assessment and review at the organisation’s ten-year anniversary. The ambitious strategy envisages three goals: 1. Greater understanding of equality law and its centrality to rights and development; 2. Increased expertise and capacity among equality defenders; and 3. A growing international network of equality defenders. The Head of Programmes will play a crucial senior role in our London-based team. You will report to the Director, sitting on the Senior Management Team, and assuming responsibility for the oversight and growth of the Programmes team.

You will be joining an organisation whose core values include diversity, transparency, collaboration, partnership and excellence. We are a motivated team of individuals, each with their own sphere of responsibility, working within a friendly, supportive and collaborative environment. As an organisation, we seek to maximise flexibility in part to remove barriers to employment for those who are unable to take a 9-5.30 role. We particularly encourage applications from individuals who may have, themselves, suffered disadvantage because of a protected characteristic.

Areas of Responsibility

Reporting to the Director, the Head of Legal and Programmes will work closely with the Director in the delivery of the Trust’s strategy through its five programmes and services (advocacy; litigation and legal services; research and resources; supporting equality defenders; and advisory services), and by participating in the development and implementation of the Trust’s income generation and fundraising strategies. The post-holder will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Trust’s international projects through supervising the work of two members of the Programmes team in coordinating such projects, with support and guidance from the Trust’s Director. The role requires regular short periods of international travel.

Strategic and Managerial

  • Together with the Director and Head of Operations, act as a member of the Senior Management Team;
  • Lead the Programmes team, overseeing and supervising the work of two team members, together with paid interns and fellows, and represent this team at the senior management level;
  • Identify and maintain relationships with external sources of programmatic support where necessary;
  • Support the Director and Board of Trustees in the strategic planning for the organisation.


  • Lead the Trust’s programme of support to lawyers undertaking strategic litigation and providing legal services on equality and non-discrimination and the implementation of the Trust’s own body of strategic litigation through intervention in international and regional cases. This includes conducting legal research and drafting briefs as well as working with external lawyers where necessary;
  • Deliver the Trust’s legal research work on the rights to equality and non-discrimination and their role in the realisation of other human rights and development. This includes working with the Director to conceptualise the Trust’s research reports and an annual journal and overseeing their research, development and publication;
  • Provide expert legal support and input to the Trust’s advocacy work, through overseeing the research and development of briefs and submissions to national partners, and to relevant international stakeholders;
  • Represent the Trust by providing substantive expertise and guidance on matters of equality law and equality programming, as requested by the Trust’s partners and other equality defenders;
  • Oversee and undertake work to increase the expertise and capacity of equality defenders including through the development of training materials and through delivering training around the world;

Project Management and Development

  • Supervise the Trust’s Legal and Programmes Assistant and the Advocacy and Programmes Consultant in their coordination of the implementation of a number of the Trust’s grant-funded projects;
  • Support the Director in the development and implementation of the Trust’s fundraising and income generation strategy, including through the design of new projects and the preparation of grant funded applications.


  • The job description is a general outline of the job duties and responsibilities. The post holder may be required to undertake other duties as may reasonably be required from time to time. 

Person Specification


  • Qualified lawyer (though the advertised role is non-practising);
  • At least three years’ experience in a comparable role in a human rights organisation;
  • Excellent knowledge of international human rights law and/or equality law;
  • Excellent legal research and drafting skills and a track record of writing on matters of equality and human rights;
  • Knowledge (essential) and experience (desirable) of one or more international or regional complaints mechanisms adjudicating the right to non-discrimination;
  • Excellent communication skills for both external and internal communications;
  • Superb organisational and IT skills;
  • Initiative and a strong sense of responsibility;
  • Self-motivated and comfortable with working autonomously;
  • Commitment to equality.

Highly Desirable

  • Post-graduate qualification in equality or international human rights law;
  • Language skills, in particular Russian, Arabic and/or Spanish;
  • Experience of the development of an international organisation, including knowledge of key donors and fundraising processes (experience of working on project management of EIDHR and/or US State Department donor contracts a particular plus);
  • Experience of income generation activities, ideally in the area of project funding;
  • Experience of charity communications – particularly digital communications.

Application process

Equal Rights Trust is an equal opportunities employer. Unfortunately, this post is not eligible for visa sponsorship under the UK’s Immigration Rules.

Given our desire as an organisation to represent those whom we serve to the best of our ability, we particularly welcome applications from applicants who may have suffered disadvantage because of one or more protected characteristics.

In order to apply, please download and then submit a completed application form (with your CV included) to recruitment@equalrightstrust.org.  The deadline for applications is Sunday 14 July 2019. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and selected candidates will be contacted to undertake a written test in the week of 15 July and, if further shortlisted, to attend a panel interview in the week of 22 July. 

The successful candidate will be asked to start as soon as possible.

Salary £38-45,000 depending on experience

Probationary period 3 months
Annual Leave 25 days per year + public holidays
Pension  The Trust will also offer a pension contribution of 5% in addition to the annual salary.

Other benefits The Trust provides a flexible working environment with core daily hours and offers staff the opportunity to work from home on a regular basis where possible
Location The post-holder will be based in our office in London