Legal Officer

Townsville, Australia
Thursday, 5 December 2019
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 5 January 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Law
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Position Overview

The Legal Officer provides high quality legal advice and other legal services on a range of matters affecting the interests, obligations and responsibilities of James Cook University (JCU) and its controlled entities, with a particular emphasis on support to Generalist Medical Training (GMT)  which provides postgraduate education and training for doctors specialising in General Practice.

The Legal Officer acts exclusively for the University and its controlled entities as appropriate in an independent capacity and in compliance with the professional standards of conduct applicable to members of the legal profession in Queensland.

The Chancellery

The Chancellery consists of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and President, Chair of Academic Board, Office of the Chief of Staff, Marketing, International and Advancement Directorates, and State of the Tropics project. The Chancellery provides a centralised point for the facilitation, coordination and oversight of all corporate governance; marketing activities; international compliance and student support; alumni and fundraising; government relations; and external engagement both domestically and internationally.

The Chancellery provides support to the Vice Chancellor and the Executive Group on governance and management issues and in particular supports the Vice Chancellor to discharge her duties. The Vice Chancellor and President of the University is the equivalent of the Chief Executive Officer of a substantial company. The Vice Chancellor is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the University and plays a prominent role in outward facing activities of the organisation, including national, international and community engagement.

Principal Accountabilities

  1. Provide legal advice and recommendations on legal matters including in relation to policies and procedures, privacy, grievances, misconduct, procurement and contract interpretation and statutory interpretation, and effective dispute resolution, and litigation and claims management.
  2. Respond in a timely and competent manner to subpoenas, writs of non-party discover and requests for information (including but not limited to, requests pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld), Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).
  3. In consultation with the University General Counsel, brief and instruct external providers, including Counsel and oversee the outsourcing of those services to ensure quality, professionalism, and value for money.
  4. Provide advice and assist with the interpretation, preparation, review and implementation of JCU’s delegations, standards, policies and procedures, including the application of appropriate legal principles.
  5. Develop guidelines, procedures, deeds, agreements, reports and other documents in consultation with relevant University staff.
  6. Proactively identify emerging legal issues applicable to the activities of the University, and GMT’s activity in particular, engaging with relevant business units as appropriate.
  7. Implement best practice and continuous improvement processes in the conduct of legal practice management to achieve high quality outcomes, including professionalism, proper record-keeping and file maintenance, confidentiality, and maintain the independence of the University’s Legal Office, with particular emphasis on the establishment and maintenance of legal professional privilege.
  8. Support the University's commitment to the principles of reconciliation, which exemplify respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the valuing of justice and equity for all Australians.
  9. Demonstrate a commitment to the University values.
  10. Support the principles of the TropEco program and engage in commitment to JCU sustainability goals and objectives.


There are generic descriptors that apply to all James Cook University staff.  Your specific level descriptor can be found at Schedule 4 within the Enterprise Agreement.

Generic Accountabilities

There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff.

  1. The Legal Officer is required to observe the lawful and reasonable directions, policies and decisions of the University Council, understand and comply with the Enterprise Agreement, the Statutes and Rules of the University, the policies and decisions of the University Council and other appropriate University authorities, as in force from time to time.
  2. The Legal Officer is required to demonstrate a personal commitment to ensure personal safety and the safety of others and contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance. This includes the effective implementation and compliance with James Cook University WHS policies, procedures and safe systems of work, together with all relevant legislation, duties and obligations.  Contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance.
  3. The Legal Officer is required to exercise proper discretion in all matters affecting the well-being of the University which involve public writing or speaking in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct.

Special Condition

It is a requirement of this position to hold and maintain an unrestricted Practising Certificate pursuant to the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld).

Selection Criteria

Selection and appointments will be assessed against selection criteria.


  1. Degree qualification in Law from an Australian tertiary institution and admission as a solicitor of the High Court of Australia or the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia or an equivalent combination of experience and/or education and/or training.
  2. Demonstrated extensive post admission experience, preferably in areas of law relevant to the higher education sector (including, but not limited to the principles of procedural fairness and administrative law more generally, commercial law, contract law, statutory interpretation, and dispute resolution).
  3. Demonstrated high-level problem-solving skills through the effective combination of legal skills and high-level judgement.
  4. Demonstrated high level written and oral communication, and interpersonal skills, and confidence in dealing with staff at all levels of seniority when providing advice and other legal services with proven ability to convey complex issues, clearly, concisely and simply.
  5. Proven ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines, manage the service expectations of clients, and maintain effective working relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.
  6. Demonstrated ability to work effectively, both independently and as part of a small team which relies on the flexibility and adaptability of its staff to service a time-pressured client base.


  1. Experience in a similar role in a University or other in-house legal placement.
  2. Knowledge of legislation relevant to the higher education sector in Queensland and an understanding of matters affecting this sector.