Job Title:  Senior Legal Adviser (for the English & Exams strategic business unit)

Status:  Permanent

Client: The British Council

Location: London SW1A

Remuneration:  Attractive salary & benefits package including 32 days annual holiday, pension & a range of family friendly policies

Role Purpose:  To 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.

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 advise on transactional issues.  The Legal team have oversight over the use of oursourcing 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 (SBUs), corporate functions and the overseas network as delegated on a project by project basis.

About us:  The British Council is the UK's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with - changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. 

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.

Function overview: The role reports to the Head of Legal who reports to the Director of Corporate Affairs. By the nature of the functions in Corporate Affairs, there is significant daily interaction with the Global Leadership Team, a wide range of colleagues around the British Council's global network and external stakeholders.

Main Accountabilities: 

  • 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 busiiness 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:

  • Client functions (SBUs, Regional/countries and corporate functions)
  • Senior colleagues in finance, HR and other support/corporate functions
  • External Legal Advisers
  • Senior Management in Client functions

Person Specification:

Qualifications:  Lawyer qualified in common law jurisdiction (Essential)  Barrister or Solicitor qualified in England & Wales (Desirable)

Knowledge & Experience - Essential

  • Sufficient post qualification experience
  • International legal experience
  • commercial experience

Knowledge & Experience - Desirable

  • Public sector/NDPB legal experience
  • Charity legal experience
  • Professional services organisations

Skills (Essential) - Sufficient knowledge of:

  • partnerships and joint ventures
  • corporate governance
  • legal status (UK and overseas)
  • dispute resolution
  • contracts
  • conflict of laws/cross border issues

Skills (Desirable)

  • Charity law
  • Employment Law and/or Investigation management

British Council Behaviours: (all at most demanding level) (Behaviours matrix is available on the BC web site, or can be provided by Oakleigh Resourcing.)

  • Creating Shared Purpose
  • Connecting With Others
  • Working Together
  • Being Accountable
  • Making It Happen
  • Shaping The Future

To apply for this role please forward your CV to Elaine Rippon of Oakleigh Resourcing on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.