Senior Legal Officer

Townsville, Australia
28 Feb 2018
End of advertisement period
21 Mar 2018
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Law
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Position Overview

The Senior Legal Officer provides high quality, strategic legal advice and other legal services on a broad range of matters (including more complex issues) affecting the interests, obligations and responsibilities of James Cook University(JCU) andits controlled entities as appropriate. The incumbent supports the University General Counsel with the management, coordination and oversight of external providers, including Counsel.

The Senior 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 and office of the Chief of Staff (incorporating University Secretariat, governance and executive policy, legal services, media and communications, corporate records, risk and audit). The Chancellery provides support to the Vice Chancellor and the Executive Group on governance and management issues.

The Chancellery supports the Vice Chancellor to discharge her duties. The Vice Chancellor is the chief executive of the University and leads the development of University strategy, as well as the pursuit of strategic goals and major new initiatives with the University community and its stakeholders. The Vice Chancellor is also responsible for: the generation of revenue; management of people, assets and finances; and representing the University (nationally and internationally) to governments, partner universities, potential and past students, funding bodies and the wider community.

Organisational Charts

James Cook University

The Chancellery

Principal Accountabilities

  1. Provide strategic legal advice and recommendations on more complex legal matters (including in relation to policies and procedures, commercial law, privacy, grievances, misconduct, and statutory interpretation),and litigation and claims management.
  2. Brief and instruct external providers, including Counsel, in consultation with the University General Counsel, and oversee the outsourcing of those services to ensure quality, professionalism, and value for money.
  3. 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.
  4. Develop guidelines, procedures, deeds, agreements, reports and other documents in consultation with University staff, including senior and executive management.
  5. Respond in a timely and competent manner to subpoenas, writs of non-party discovery and requests for information, including, but not limited to, requests pursuant to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld), Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).
  6. Proactively identify emerging legal issues applicable to the activities of the University and engage 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.
  8. Maintain highest levels of confidentiality, and maintain the independence of the University’s Legal Office team, with particular emphasis on the establishment and maintenance of legal professional privilege.
  9. 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.
  10. Demonstrate a commitment to the University values.
  11. Support the principles of the TropEco program and engage in commitment to JCU sustainability goals and objectives.


There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff. Your specific level descriptor can be found at:

Professional and Technical

Level 9

Generic Accountabilities 

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

  1. The Senior 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 Senior 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 Senior 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 Conditions

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.
  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, privacy law, statutory interpretation, and dispute resolution).
  3. Demonstrated advanced problem-solving ability through the effective combination of legal skills and the exercise of sound judgment.
  4. Demonstrated high level written communication, and high level oral communication and interpersonal skills, and confidence in dealing with University staff at all levels of seniority when providing advice and other legal services, and the ability to convey seemingly 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. Proven 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.