Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Environmental Lawyer (Interim OEP)
£47,549 - £54,728
Full-time, permanent contract (with the potential for flexible working)
Here in Defra, we deal with a vast range of issues that have a profound impact on people’s lives. We are responsible for the environment, our countryside and rural economy, as well as the food and farming sectors. We also provide protection against a wide range of natural threats and hazards.
To support this work, Defra are currently establishing the new Office for Environmental Protection, a public body with the principal objective of contributing to environmental protection and improving the natural environment.
Initially, the Interim OEP will be set up as a division within Defra to provide independent oversight of the government’s environmental progress on a non-statutory basis. The OEP will then be legally established and gain its full powers through the Environment Bill in late 2021.
This is an opportunity to build the OEP’s legal function from the ground up as you help to establish it as a centre of excellence working on complex legal issues at the cutting edge of environmental public law.
In the Interim OEP you will Work with other lawyers and the Complaints and Enforcement team to develop the OEP's statutory Enforcement Policy as well as other legal policies and procedures for Board/Senior Exec team approval.
Once the OEP is legally established, your role will involve providing expert legal advice across everything from complaints and enforcement through to the OEP’s Monitoring Environmental Law function. You’ll identify where external legal advice is needed as well as managing the delivery of any externally commissioned legal advice and work with other lawyers to develop relevant policies and procedures. In particular, you can expect to work closely with the Senior Environmental Lawyer to provide expert advice and guidance to senior management on complex, novel and emerging legal problems within broad areas of environmental law. This is a role that calls for a big picture overview of all relevant legal, environmental, technological and social developments in the UK and beyond.
You should be qualified to practice as a Solicitor, Barrister or Chartered Legal Executive in England or Wales with solid post-qualification experience – we’ll expect you to have or be eligible for a valid practising certificate. Your background will be in UK public law, ideally encompassing significant experience in the environmental sector. You’ll certainly feel comfortable advising on environmental law.
As an excellent communicator with strong analytical skills, you’ll be able to present in a clear and compelling manner to technical and non-technical audiences alike, and to negotiate with and influence others. You’ll also need the flexibility and organisational skills to handle a wide of projects and manage competing demands.
Successful candidates will initially be employed by Defra in the Interim OEP until the OEP is legally established. Once the OEP is legally established, we intend that the successful candidate’s employment will be transferred over to the OEP on their existing T&Cs and they will become public servants.
The OEP will be a non-departmental public body sponsored by Defra. This means it will operate independently from Defra and will not be part of the UK Civil Service.
If you have any questions, please email us at OEP.Recruitment@defra.gov.uk
Defra values equality and diversity in employment. We are committed to being an organisation in which fairness and equality of opportunity is central to the approach in business and working relationships, and where the organisational culture reflects and supports these values. In Defra you have the right to a working environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation regardless of race, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, sex, gender identity, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, working hours, trade union membership or trade union activity.
Disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria in the job specification are guaranteed an interview.
Closing date: 19th April 2021