Status:  Closed.  Another successful assignment for Oakleigh Resourcing

Client:  British Council

Job Title:  Senior Legal Advisor

Location:  London 

Remuneration: Competitive package including family friendly policies

British Council are recruiting a Senior Legal Advisor to join the small in-house legal team currently based at Corporate HQ in central London. Reporting to the Head of Legal, you will support the global organisation working as a designated business partner to the Education & Society (E&S) business, which is one of the three strategic business units of the British Council.   To learn more about the E&S business visit

Job Purpose: Reporting to the Head of Legal you will provide comprehensive, efficient and cost-effective legal advice to designated client functions and in support of organisation-wide legal issues, which identifies legal risks and informs decision-making.


Context: Legal services are provided within the British Council through a small team within Corporate Affairs, supported as required by advice from external lawyers. In addition to external lawyers overseas, there is an outsourcing arrangement with a law firm in the UK to provide legal advice on transactional issues. The Legal team have oversight over the use of outsourcing arrangements. Direct support from the Legal team is focussed on business-critical core legal issues, including co-creation partnerships, conflict of laws/cross-border issues, legal status, oversight of major contracts and strategy for resolution of major disputes, where it is more effective to provide the advice internally.

This role provides direct support to designated Strategic Business Units, corporate functions and the overseas network as delegated on a project by project basis.

Accountabilities, responsibilities and main duties: 

• Provide legal advice, oversight and review for client functions, including review of major bids/ contracts, partnerships and disputes and ad hoc legal advice to ensure legal risks and opportunities are understood to inform the best possible decisions.
• Review all material legal advice obtained by client functions overseas to ensure alignment with British Council values, policies and corporate requirements.
• Provide operational legal support to client functions and the legal function overall, for example in the drafting and negotiation of MoUs/Treaties with host country governments or for ancillary legal documentation such as Bonds and Guarantees, Policies, Powers of Attorney, etc.
• Lead, as delegated, on legal issues arising from set up of new subsidiaries and changes to existing subsidiaries to ensure risks are identified and mitigating actions identified to the business.
• As required, advise on the management of legal risk in the organisation, including design and delivery of key change programmes, advising on legal implications of new business models and commercial activities.
• As delegated, lead on initiatives to develop legal knowledge and understanding to enhance awareness and capability in legal matters throughout the network.
• As delegated, contribute to and manage the development of the Model Contracts Portal, Legal intranet pages and other tools and communications to share best legal practice.
• Contribute as required to the ongoing Legal Change programme
• Where required, deputise for the Head of Legal in their absence.

Key relationships: (internal & external)

• Client functions (SBUs, Regions/countries and corporate functions)
• Senior colleagues in finance, human resources and other support/corporate functions
• External Legal Advisers
• Senior management in Client functions

Other important requirements of the job: Some overseas travel may be required. In addition there may occasionally be a requirement to participate in telephone calls outside normal working hours to accommodate time differences.

Passport / Visa requirements: Right to live and work in the UK.

Person Specification: 

Qualifications: Lawyer qualified in common law jurisdiction (essential) / Barrister or Solicitor qualified in England & Wales (desirable)

Essential Skills and Knowledge:  

  • Partnerships and Joint Ventures
  • Corporate Governance
  • Legal Status (UK & overseas)
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Contracts
  • Conflict of laws/cross border issues


  • Sufficient post-qualification experience (essential)
  • International legal experience (essential)
  • Commercial experience (essential)
  • Public sector/NDPB legal experience (desirable not essential)
  • Charity legal experience (desirable not essential)
  • Professional services organisations (desirable not essential)

Behaviours: Creating Shared Purpose / Being Accountable / Connecting with others / Making it happen / Working together / Shaping the future (all at most demanding level. Behaviours matrix is available on the British Council web site, and can also be provided by Oakleigh Resourcing.

Please apply by emailing your CV with current salary details and availability to Elaine Rippon of Oakleigh Resourcing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Elaine on 01477 534491 for a confidential discussion about the role.