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Office of the Parliamentary Counsel

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is a team within the civil service of some 50 lawyers and 10 support staff. We draft Government Bills for introduction into Parliament and handle related Parliamentary business.

Legislative drafting involves analysis of a department’s legislative proposals, getting into the detail of how best the policy should be implemented in law and devising a suitable legislative structure, as well as drafting the legislative provisions themselves.

The Role:

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel can expect to work on Bills with one or two more experienced colleagues. They are supervised in their work, with the level of supervision reducing as they grow in expertise and experience.

The main tasks of an Assistant Parliamentary Counsel are
• to assist in drafting Bills which are effective, clearly written and well-structured (including in particular both drafting and reviewing the work of more experienced drafters);
• to work with officials across Government to ensure that the process of Bill preparation, publication and parliamentary handling is handled effectively and efficiently;
• to provide advice to Government departments on parliamentary procedure;
• to review, draft and advise on subordinate legislation;
• to contribute to the training and development of other drafters, departmental lawyers, policy advisers and Bill team members;
• to contribute actively to the wider objectives of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, in particular those of providing a high-quality drafting service, leading the legislative drafting profession within government, and promoting good law.

We have an extensive induction and training programme, though new entrants usually find they learn most on the job from working with more experienced colleagues. It takes a number of years to acquire sufficient skill in drafting, familiarity with
parliamentary procedure and other relevant knowledge and judgement to be able to take the lead on a Bill. Once they reach
the required standard to do that, Assistant Parliamentary Counsel can expect to be promoted to Parliamentary Counsel (Deputy
Director) in the Senior Civil Service (pay range from £73,000 plus allowance (pay award pending)), and there are opportunities
to reach more senior posts.

Person Specification:

We are looking for intellectually capable lawyers who are motivated to produce legislation of the highest quality. We encourage and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from people who are disabled or who are black, Asian or from minority ethnic groups, as they are currently under-represented in our workforce.

Skills and competencies.

Successful candidates will be able to provide evidence of the following skills during the selection process -

• excellent powers of analysis;
• ability to devise creative and constructive solutions to legal problems;
• ability to translate complex ideas into a clear and coherent structure;
• skilled use of language, attention to detail and commitment to accuracy;
• ability to master new areas of law at speed, across the legal landscape;
• resilience to work under pressure and an ability to deliver at pace;
• reliable legal judgement;
• ability to work collaboratively;
• good self-awareness and a commitment to learning and developing as a professional.

Qualifications

Academic and professional qualifications.

You should have a good honours degree (2:1 or above or an overseas equivalent) in any subject. Applicants who do not have a 2:1 degree are considered only where strong evidence of equivalent high level academic and/or professional achievement can be provided.

You must be qualified to practise as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales. You must have completed a training
contract/pupillage, or have been exempted from this by the Law Society or the Bar Council. If you are qualified in a jurisdiction outside England and Wales, you must have successfully completed the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) by the time you take up post.