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At MI5, our mission is to keep the country safe, through the protection of national security including from threats from terrorism and espionage.

At MI6, we operate on a global scale to collect foreign intelligence and to counter and disrupt terrorism. It’s all so we can keep the country safe from ever-evolving threats.

To help us, we’re looking for the UK’s finest legal minds. We are looking to recruit lawyers to give advice across a wide range of operational and associated matters, to represent the agencies in discussions across Government and with partners overseas, and to handle litigation on our behalf.  The work is wide-ranging, varied and highly responsible.  Depending on portfolios, legal advisers can expect to advise on a range of domestic law issues as well as public international and EU law.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

All operational legal advisers will be expected to give excellent and enabling legal advice to operational colleagues in the agencies and will be expected to deliver in one or more of the following areas:

Operational work – advice to operational teams on the Investigatory Powers Act, the Human Rights Act 1998, data protection, freedom of information, terrorism legislation, export controls and English civil and criminal law. The work may also involve significant consideration of international law issues in the context of work overseas.

Litigation – advice to the agencies in handling: litigation brought against the government that affects the relevant agency (civil claims, judicial review); work on appeals against executive action (e.g. deportations on national security grounds, Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures); other litigation (criminal proceedings, inquests and inquiries).

Legislation – advice to the agencies on the implications of domestic and EU legislation and consequent representation of the agencies’ interests in Whitehall, for example the arrangements for national security under the legislative framework which will facilitate Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Training – the Legal Advisers make a significant contribution to training within the agencies.

Legal Advisers are expected to:

–    Demonstrate sustained leadership across a range of work.
–    Demonstrate a track record of personal development and practical achievement.
–    Actively contribute to building legal awareness and skills amongst the legal cadre and demonstrate a keen awareness of legal developments.
–    Represent the legal team within and outside the agency with senior interlocutors.
–    Demonstrate proven and sustained experience of highly effective delivery in relevant areas of law.
–    Demonstrate sound legal judgment across multiple areas in complex, difficult or high-profile legal issues.
–    Demonstrate an established track record of providing advice that takes account of broader context and wider strategic objectives.
–    Demonstrate strong client care skills evidenced by trusted relationships with credibility established with senior colleagues.

Assistant Legal Advisers are expected to:

–    Undertake advisory or casework as required under appropriate direction and supervision.
–    Seek out knowledge from and share knowledge with others and maintain an awareness of legal areas.
–    Demonstrate effective delivery in a relevant area of law.
–    Demonstrate sound legal judgment.
–    Demonstrate an understanding the broader context and wider strategic objectives.
–    Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

About you

Expected skills, knowledge and experience

A suitable candidate will:
•    Have the requisite legal qualifications to practice as a solicitor or barrister in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or advocate or solicitor in Scotland
•    Have strong legal professional skills, powers of analysis and judgement;
•    Be able to communicate clearly, orally and in writing, in a manner appropriate to the recipient;
•    Be able to master new material quickly and be flexible enough to advise on novel areas of law;
•    Have maturity of outlook, sound judgement and the ability to deal calmly, under pressure, with clients concerned about issues of national security;
•    Be able to command the confidence of senior policy clients;
•    Be able to work well within a team and form good working relationships with colleagues in other parts of Government and with partners overseas;
•    Have an interest in  public service;

Experience in one or more of the following areas would be an advantage:
•    Civil litigation
•    Criminal law
•    Public law including human rights
•    Public international law
•    EU law


If you join us you’ll enjoy access to a variety of benefits throughout your career. These include flexible working hours and a good pension scheme. We also have part-time working opportunities where business needs allow.

In addition to a fulfilling and rewarding career you’ll be working in a structured environment that offers extensive support, ongoing professional development and peer review.

To apply you must be a born or naturalised British citizen, over 21 years old and normally have been based in the UK for six of the last ten years. You should not discuss your application with anyone other than your partner or a close family member providing that they are British. They should also be made aware of the importance of discretion.

MI5 & MI6 strives for diversity in the workplace and is committed to the creation and maintenance of a climate in which all staff are treated fairly on the grounds of merit and ability.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to being a ‘Disability Confident Leader’ we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the role that they are applying for. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

To secure an interview for this vacancy you will be asked a series of questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet the criteria you will be directed to the full application form.

On successful completion and an application form sift, you will be invited to a telephone interview. This is our guaranteed interview.

Closing Date: undisclosed

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