Deputy Head of the Legal Office
The Legal Office provides legal services to the National Institutions of the Church of England, of which the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board are the largest. It currently comprises 6 solicitors, 3 barristers, 1 legal executive and 2 support staff.
The Legal Office is one of a number of ‘common service’ units that provide services to all the National Church Institutions and are managed by Church of England Central Services. (Other common services include IT, Human Resources, Office Services and the Church of England Records Centre.) The Head of the Legal Office is the Chief Legal Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod and Official Solicitor to the Church Commissioners.
The Deputy Head of the Legal Office is the Deputy Legal Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod and the Deputy Official Solicitor to the Church Commissioners. It is a senior role in the National Institutions of the Church of England, immediately below Director level, and requires the provision of legal services with an exceptionally high level of independent professional and personal responsibility.
The role involves sharing responsibility for overseeing the work of the Legal Office and deputising for the Head of the Legal Office.
Responsibilities of the post include:
- The timely, effective and efficient delivery of legal services, at an advanced level, to the National Institutions of the Church of England in accordance with the Legal Office Service Level Agreement
- Personal responsibility for the delivery of such services to the General Synod and its Houses, commissions and committees and to the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board (and their respective committees)
- Representing the Church to Government, Parliament and other external organisations.
The job requires the provision of legal advice and analysis to internal and external stakeholders at the highest level, including in relation to matters which, internally, have strategic significance for the Church of England and/or affect its internal dynamics and, externally, affect the way in which the Church is perceived. By virtue of its influence on the Church’s central decision-making processes, the legal advice given by the post holder has a significant impact in relation to all these areas. Because such advice that is in any way inadequate or misjudged can have a seriously adverse impact it is essential that the advice provided by the post holder is entirely reliable and always well-judged and accurate.
Furthermore, the environment in which the job is carried out is a demanding one. Factors contributing to that include:
- The complexity of the surrounding framework of ecclesiastical, public and administrative law, charity law and of the legislative and other Synodical processes,
- The diversity of views held within the Church of England on many matters,
- The potential for legislative proposals from Government to impact on the Church in highly sensitive areas and
- The need to respond rapidly, under pressure, to situations that unexpectedly arise.
The job involves producing imaginative and effective solutions to complex and novel legal problems in order to ensure the organisation’s strategic outcomes are achieved
Please see attached job description for the full main responsibilities
The Ideal Candidate
- A solicitor or barrister qualified to practise in England and Wales with significant relevant post-qualification experience.
- Strong powers of legal analysis and proven experience of providing effective legal advice on complex and novel issues without supervision and with the capability to quality assure own work
- Ability to deal with highly complex, sensitive and controversial matters directly involving the most senior figures in the organisation and other key internal and external stakeholders
- Creativity and innovation necessary to overcome complex and demanding challenges and to provide creative solutions
- Ability to acquire an understanding of legal principles in new areas of practice quickly and proactively
- Significant post-qualification experience including substantial experience of personally and without supervision–
- advising on complex legal issues
- representing clients and
- drafting complex legal documents
- Knowledge of one or more of the following:
- public and administrative law
- ecclesiastical law
- charity law
- Experience of utilising a focussed approach and delivering results
- High level client/stakeholder liaison
- Willingness to work sympathetically within a Church context
- Ability to deal sensitively yet objectively with people from a range of backgrounds and theological positions
- Respect for the views of others, including willingness to work constructively as a member of a team
- Ability to inspire confidence
- Ability and willingness to work proactively and without unnecessary formality
- A commitment to personal, staff and organisational development
- A communicant member of the Church of England or a Church in communion with it.
- Advanced IT skills
- Awareness of the structures, dynamics and culture of the Church of England, including of the range of religious beliefs held within it; and/or
- Experience of the legislative process and of dealing with Government; and/or
- Some professional experience of court / tribunal proceedings.
- Willingness to develop additional legal and personal skills.
Please see attached job description for full ideal requirements
We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.
Excellence, Respect, Integrity
We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith. To learn more about working for National Church Institutions and our benefits, please click here
As we are a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome all applications from those you have served in our Armed Forces and their families
We are committed to building a culturally diverse workforce. As part of this commitment, we welcome applications from people, regardless of their background. As a Disability Confident committed employer, it is important to note that there may be occasions where it is not practical or appropriate to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria* due to high volume. We limit the amount of interviews conducted to five applicants per open post we advertise.
*Where applicable depending on post requirements.