Job Specification

Job Title: Legal Adviser

Salary range: £58,963-£60,751

Grade: Assembly Grade 4

Directorate: Legal, Governance and Research Services

Business Area/Office: Legal Services Office

Accountable to: Head of Legal Services Office


Job Purpose

Legal Advisers provide a specialist in-house legal advice service to the Assembly, its Committees and its Speaker. They provide objective legal advice, independent of government, to support the Assembly in its scrutiny and legislative roles.  They advise on legislation, procedural matters and committee work to assist political actors in achieving their goals.  They represent the Assembly and Assembly Commission in proceedings before courts, tribunals and inquiries.  They also advise and assist key clients in the Assembly Commission, the corporate body which supports the Assembly.  In this role they work at a senior level to manage contractual, employment and commercial legal issues on behalf of the Commission.


Job Description:

The role of a Legal Adviser is that of in-house counsel.  The successful applicant will:

  • Provide comprehensive, thoroughly-researched, sound and timely legal advice to the following clients:
    • the Speaker, on the legislative competence of legislation under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, public law issues in parliamentary procedure, and the interpretation of standing orders
    • Assembly committees, on legislative scrutiny, their statutory and other powers, parliamentary privilege, compliance with Standing Orders, public law issues in parliamentary procedure and the conduct of committee inquiries
    • the Assembly Commission in relation to any legal issue arising in connection with the discharge of its functions
    • Corporate clients at a senior level, on constitutional and other public law matters, contract and employment law, information law, public procurement and members’ expenditure
  • Provide legal advice to the Director and Head of Legal Services Office;
  • Deliver legal advice which supports Members in the development of legislative proposals.
  • Draft legal and statutory documents including standing orders, statutory rules and determinations, and contracts.
  • Conduct legal research including the use of electronic and other resources to provide authoritative advice on unfamiliar areas of law at short notice.
  • Personally represent individuals and committees in legal proceedings and inquiries, or manage external counsel and solicitors to provide such representation.
  • Conduct legal proceedings by or against the Assembly and the Assembly Commission, for example judicial review proceedings, civil claims and employment proceedings.
  • Maintain membership of the relevant professional body (the Bar of Northern Ireland or the Law Society of Northern Ireland), undertake sufficient and relevant training, and act in accordance with their professional code of conduct in the discharge of their duties.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with senior staff and political actors in the Assembly and colleagues in other legislatures.
  • Regularly participate in or lead teams to deliver legislation or corporate and organisational objectives.
  • Comply with all of the Assembly Commission’s staff policies and procedures including the Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work policies.
  • Manage information and records in accordance with established policies and statutory requirements.
  • Carry out other duties as the Assembly Commission reasonably requires of you.


Essential Criteria:

At the closing date for applications, applicants must:

1. Hold a first or bachelor’s degree of minimum 2.2 classification (or equivalent);


2. be a barrister or solicitor who is entitled to practice in Northern Ireland;


3. have at least 3 years’ post-qualification experience (‘PQE’) in law to include evidence of the following:

(a) interpreting legislation and legal documents;

(b) demonstrating legal analytical ability and sound judgement in the resolution of complex legal problems; and

(c) communicating with clarity and confidence with clients.


4. be able to provide evidence within their application form of:

(a) a knowledge of constitutional, administrative and human rights law in Northern Ireland; and

(b) a knowledge of the role of the Assembly in the political and institutional relationships in Northern Ireland.


Shortlisting Criteria:

Should shortlisting be required, the following shortlisting criteria will be applied:

At least 2 years’ PQE in providing legal advice in 3 of the following areas: constitutional law; administrative law; human rights law; procurement and contract law; data protection and information law; employment law; EU/retained EU Law.


Skills & Behaviours:

The following Assembly Skills and Behaviours will be assessed during the selection process:

Delivering a quality service

…is about providing a high-quality and efficient service to our customers. It is thinking ahead, managing resources effectively and delivering work on time and to a high standard. It is also using professional or technical expertise to enhance service delivery.  

Building relationships and effective communication

…is creating and maintaining positive, professional and respectful internal and external working relationships through effective and appropriate communications.