Deputy Head of the Legal Office of the National Church Institutions (Archbishops’ Council and General Synod)
We Include. You Belong.
Our Belonging and Inclusion Strategy aims for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong, and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.
The Legal Office is the in-house provider of legal services to the national policy-making and governance institutions of the Church of England (the National Church Institutions, “NCIs”), the largest of which are the Archbishops’ Council, a national policy and strategic decision-making body, and the Church Commissioners, a substantial endowment fund with assets valued at £10.1bn (2021) which has positioned itself at the forefront of Responsible Investment and which supports the mission of the Church. The Legal Office also advises the General Synod, which is a legislative assembly.
We are a small, inclusive team currently comprising twelve legally qualified staff, a trainee solicitor, two paralegals, and two support staff. Our professional backgrounds are diverse, with members coming to us from private practice in law firms, the Bar, from government, and from regulators.
Our work requires the provision of advice on diverse and intellectually stimulating points of law at the intersection of public and private law. The work is high quality, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding. We are a collegiate and supportive team, and we are proud of the work we do.
The post is one of two deputy heads in the Legal Office, and requires the provision of legal advisory services over a wide range of subject areas and to a high level of independence and professional and personal responsibility, advising the most senior stakeholders in the NCIs. The work is at the intersection of public and private law, and presents challenges which are often complex, novel and politically sensitive.
The NCIs are undergoing a process of reform to simplify their governance and improve transparency. They are also making efforts to update their technology and working practices. The post-holder has considerable interaction with both those strands of work, building relationships with senior staff across the NCIs to ensure the best use of legal resource to meet organisational needs and ensuring that the Legal Office is fully integrated into the changes.
You will be based at Church House, Westminster but with the flexibility to work on a hybrid basis. This post requires physical attendance at some formal meetings and at Synod meetings in York and London, which involve overnight stays and weekend work.
Because of the senior public representational role the post-holder has on behalf of the Church, the fact that the legal advice provided by the post-holder must take account of and be consistent with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England, and because the post-holder acts as Deputy Provincial Registrar, the post is subject to an occupational requirement under Schedule 9 to the Equality Act 2010 that the post-holder is a communicant member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with it.
To arrange an informal conversation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for applications is 11 December 2023 (4pm).
The Church of England is for everyone and we want to reflect the diversity of the community the Church serves across the whole country. Therefore, while of course we welcome all applications from interested and suitably experienced people, we would particularly welcome applicants from UK Minority Ethnic Backgrounds and other under-represented groups.
We offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme.
- Providing advice, either personally or through others under your supervision, to the Archbishops’ Council, its Secretary-General (CEO), its committees and staff on legal issues, legal strategy and procedures, including on controversial, politically sensitive and time-critical issues.
- Acting as Deputy Registrar of the Provinces of Canterbury and York, and Deputy Registrar of the General Synod.
- Working closely with the Clerk to the General Synod and her team to ensure the smooth running of Synod business.
- Advising on policy proposals, and instructing legislative counsel to draft legislation when required to implement such policy; taking legislation through the General Synod and both Houses of Parliament, including providing briefing and advice to the Second Estates Commissioner (who represents the Church in the House of Commons) and the Lords Spiritual, and appearing before the Ecclesiastical Committee.
- Representing the NCIs in meetings and negotiations with Government ministers, senior civil servants and other senior stakeholders, and publicly representing the Church before Parliamentary committees and other public forums.
- Deputising for, and assisting, the Head of the Legal Office, including taking the leading role on agreed areas of work.
- Promoting the effective performance of the Legal Office by identifying, adopting and championing technological and process improvements, whether made available by the organisation or sourced externally from providers to the legal industry.
- Promoting the effective delivery of legal services throughout the Church of England generally by supporting the work of the Legal Advisory Commission, the diocesan and provincial registrars, the Ecclesiastical Law Society, the Ecclesiastical Law Association and the Ecclesiastical Judges’ Association.
- Acting as line manager to 4-6 staff, including supporting their personal development and ensuring that work is distributed to facilitate the effective delivery of legal services to the organisation.
The Ideal Candidate
- Strong powers of legal analysis and ability to provide effective legal advice on complex and novel issues without supervision and with the ability to quality-assure own work.
- Ability to deal with highly complex, sensitive and controversial matters directly, advising the most senior figures in the organisation and other key internal and external stakeholders, and gaining their confidence.
- Ability to acquire an understanding of legal principles in new areas of practice quickly and proactively, and to absorb and manage detail.
- Ability to apply the law accurately yet imaginatively, taking account of context and political or organisational sensitivities.
- An effective leader, able to provide professional supervision, line-management oversight and pastoral care to junior lawyers and non-qualified staff in the Legal Office, as well as play a full role in the senior leadership of the organisation more generally.
- Excellent computer literacy and an active interest in the use of IT to improve legal operations.
- Significant post-qualification experience including substantial experience of personally and without supervision advising on complex legal issues, dealing with senior stakeholders, and drafting complex legal documents.
- Knowledge of one or more of the following:
- Public and administrative law
- Charity law;
- Ecclesiastical law.
- Advanced knowledge of legal research methodology.
- A strong commitment to personal, staff and organisational development.
- A strong commitment to high standards of service delivery and customer care.
- A high level of personal integrity and a commitment to upholding professional standards.
- Solicitor or barrister qualified in England and Wales, with significant relevant post-qualification experience and a current practising certificate.
- Ability to deal sensitively yet objectively with people from a range of backgrounds and theological positions.
- Willingness to work sympathetically within a Church context.
- Respect for the views of others, including willingness to work constructively as a member of a team.
- Because of the senior public representational role the post-holder has on behalf of the Church, the fact that the legal advice provided by the post-holder must take account of and be consistent with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England, and because the post-holder acts as Deputy Provincial Registrar, the post is subject to an occupational requirement under Schedule 9 to the Equality Act 2010 that the post-holder is a communicant member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with it.
- Awareness of the diversity of doctrinal positions, structures and cultures within the Church of England.
- Familiarity with the Parliamentary legislative process.
- Experience of dealing with the Government.
- Experience of drafting secondary legislation.
In the National Church Institutions (NCIs), we support the mission and ministries of the Church of England. We work with parishes, dioceses, schools, chaplaincies and other ministries, and with national and international partners including mission agencies, and other denominations and faith groups.-.
Find out more about working for the National Church Institutions at Careers | The Church of England
- We strive for excellence
- We collaborate
- We act with integrity
- We show compassion
- We respect others
We believe our commitment to belonging and inclusion fuels our progress and drives us forward. The NCIs are a safe, inclusive workplace for people of all backgrounds and walks of life. We welcome applications from people of all faiths and of no faith. We want to encourage applications from a diverse group of people who share our values. Even if you have never thought about working for us before, if you have the skills and experience we’re looking for then we would like to hear from you.
If there is anything we can do to support you in your application please get in touch via email to email@example.com
As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.
- We are a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, and welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.