38297 - Law Commission: Lawyer, Commercial and Common Law Team
We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity
The Law Commission for England and Wales is the statutory body set up under the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reform where it is needed.
We are looking to recruit two exceptional lawyers to join the Law Commission’s commercial and common law team to help lead our work on smart contracts and digital assets.
Digital assets: We have been asked by Government to recommend reforms to ensure that English law can accommodate digital assets, from electronic documents (such as bills of lading and bills of exchange, used in international trade) to cryptoassets. The role(s) is expected to include the development of new legislation on the concept of “possession” which will have a significant impact on law and practice in this area for years to come.
Smart contracts: We are also undertaking a scoping study on smart contracts, with a view to identifying further work and potential reform which will be required in future. The project has a wide scope, focusing primarily on contract law and its application to smart legal contracts, but touching on diverse areas including conflict of laws and consumer protection.
More information about each of these projects is available on the Law Commission’s website.
We are primarily looking for lawyers with strong research, analytical and writing skills, who would be able to pick up the legal and policy issues quickly. A background in shipping, trade or personal property law (for digital assets) or contract law (for smart contracts), and/or in law and tech may be an advantage, but we are equally interested in lawyers with a more general commercial or academic background and the ability to come up to speed with new areas quickly.
These roles are an excellent opportunity for lawyers to gain law reform, policy, drafting, bill development and stakeholder engagement experience. They are offered on fixed term contract for 12 - 15 months, dependent on project and start date. Subject to business need, the fixed term could be extended, or the post could be converted to a permanent position.
The successful candidate will start as soon as the candidate’s terms of employment and Government security checks allow. Suitable candidates who are not successful will be held on a reserve list for future posts. Other posts may be available in the next 12 months, depending on the work of the team.
The Law Commission’s aims are:
- To ensure that the law is as fair, modern, simple and as cost-effective as possible
- To conduct research and consultations with a view to making recommendations for reform for consideration by Parliament
- To codify the law, eliminate anomalies, repeal obsolete and unnecessary enactments and reduce the number of separate statutes
The Law Commission is an independent non-departmental body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. Further information about the Law Commission and its work can be obtained from its website at www.lawcom.gov.uk/.
A job description and outline of required skills are set out below.
The main duties of this post are:
- Working on one or more law reform projects with the Commissioner, the Team Manager, and (where relevant) other team lawyers and research assistants. This may include:
- Managing a project against an agreed timetable.
- Researching the law and how it works in practice (both in the UK and overseas).
- Analysing problems with the law, identifying options for reform and testing potential solutions.
- Writing reports and other documents in conjunction with the Commissioner, the team manager and other team members; preparing these for publication.
- Analysing formal consultation responses.
- Working with the Head of Communications to organise publicity for our work.
- Instructing Parliamentary Counsel to draft legislation.
- Working with the Law Commission’s Economic Adviser to analyse the potential impact of reform options.
- Assisting with the promotion and implementation of recommendations from completed projects, contributing to the consideration of new project work and working on other legal issues as they arise.
- Engaging with stakeholders (both inside and outside Government).
- Effectively managing one or more Research Assistants.
- Acting as an effective and cooperative member of your law reform team and the Commission.
- Acting as a leader and role model, supporting and encouraging the sharing of knowledge, skills and best practice.
- Academic: You must hold a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree in any subject (or an overseas degree qualification equivalent to a 2.1 degree); and
- Professional: You must be either a solicitor or barrister qualified to practise in England and Wales, or the holder of a law degree who can demonstrate a comparable level of legal ability (for example, as an overseas professionally qualified lawyer, a legal academic or a legal policy expert)
This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience, Technical Skills and Strengths.
At the sift stage you will be assessed on your Experience, Behaviours and Technical Skills. Applications will initially be sifted on their demonstration of meeting the Technical Skills criteria.
Demonstrable experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the specific job role.
- Delivery – you must be able to take responsibility for delivering timely and quality results with focus and drive
- Making effective decisions – you must be able to use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice, carefully considering alternative options, and the implications and risks of decisions
- Working together – you must be able to form effective partnerships and relationships with people both internally and externally
- Communicating and influencing – you must be able to communicate with clarity, integrity and enthusiasm.
Background in contract or commercial law. Specific experience or demonstrable interest in the law relating to one or more of the following areas is particularly desirable: shipping or trade law; contract law; law and tech.
Candidates who are successful at the initial sifting stage will undertake an interview and other assessments to gauge their suitability for the role. These exercises will assess your Behaviours, Technical Skills and Strengths.
Salary, Working Arrangements & Further Information
There are fixed-term posts, for 12 - 15 months. Subject to business needs, there is a possibility that the fixed term could be extended, or that in due course the post could be converted to a permanent position.
The posts are available to full-time workers, job-sharers or part-time workers (minimum 4 days a week). If you are looking for shorter part-time working and are not in a job share, please contact us before applying (details below). The Law Commission operates flexible working arrangements including a flexi time scheme and the opportunity to work compressed hours, subject to business needs.
The appointment will be fixed term, and may be on loan (from another Government Department) or on secondment. If appointed there will be restrictions on your ability to undertake private practice.
If your application is successful, you will receive a formal letter offering you an appointment that will explain your terms and conditions of service in detail. Your appointment will include a period of probation.
Suitable candidates who are not successful will be held on a reserve list for future posts; such posts may be available in the next 12 months and offered to suitable candidates on the reserve list.
For external applicants, the salary range starts at £55,487.
This role is graded at Grade 7a (a specialist grade within the Ministry of Justice’s Grade 7), or Grade 7 if you are not professionally legally qualified. New staff will be normally appointed at the starting point of the scale; higher starting salaries will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
We will consider applications from staff on promotion, but candidates will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to work at a high level on complex matters with senior stakeholders.
Membership of the Government Legal Profession
The GLP networks together Government lawyers and trainees, who between them provide legal services across the whole spectrum of government activities. Some are members of the Government Legal Department (GLD): others (like Law Commission lawyers) are not part of the GLD but are part of the wider GLP network. The GLP also maintains close links with lawyers in other parts of the Government, such as the Crown Prosecution Service.
A solicitor or barrister qualified to practise in England and Wales will, on joining the Law Commission, have access to the networking benefits and opportunities of the wider Government Legal Profession. This will also apply to overseas qualified lawyers who fulfil the nationality requirements and are eligible to practise in England and Wales under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. Information about the QLTS can be obtained from the SRA (www.sra.org.uk).
Equal opportunity & diversity information:
We are committed to treating people openly and with respect. As an equal opportunity employer we welcome applications from candidates regardless of their ethnic origin, religious belief, gender, sexuality, disability, marital status, age and race. For further information, please see the following:
Interviews are expected in the week(s) commencing 30 November
If you would like to discuss this post further, please contact Laura Burgoyne, Head of the Commercial and Common law team.
Telephone: 07793 966 296
Working Arrangements & Further Information
Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on 'modernised' terms in their current post or onto 'unmodernised' MoJ terms if they are on 'unmodernised' terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.
Flexible working hours
The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.
The MoJ offers a range of benefits:
Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.
There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.
The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.
- A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
- Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits,retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
- For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
- Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
- Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.
The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.
We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order
1- To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Mojemail@example.com);
2- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (firstname.lastname@example.org);
3- To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.
There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
Grading Structure Review
The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.
Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.
13/11/2020, 23:55 hours.
To apply for roles in MOJ you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why.
For some roles you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC), Security Clearance (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC/SC/DV requirements you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3/5/10 years prior to the date of application (The level of checks that are required are stated in the advert).
If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:
- You've been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
- You were studying abroad
- You were living overseas with parents
In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.
Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.
This Vacancy is closed to applications.