University General Counsel

Townsville, Australia
26 May 2018
End of advertisement period
17 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Position Overview

The University General Counsel provides authoritative and high quality advice on legal and other matters, contributes to the achievement of the University’s strategic goals, and leads and manages the Legal and Assurance team within the Chief of Staff Directorate. The University General Counsel provides assurance and advice (as appropriate) to the Vice Chancellor and University Council regarding the effectiveness of the internal controls framework.

The University General Counsel, as the University’s senior legal counsel, 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 incumbent provides advice and other legal services as they relate to the University and its controlled entities, to the University Council, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, and members of the senior executive and senior management.

The University General Counsel has management, coordination and oversight responsibility for the delivery of all legal services, along with management responsibility for internal audit, risk, compliance and insurance for and on behalf of the University, including its controlled entities.

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.

Organisational Charts

James Cook University

The Chancellery

Principal Accountabilities

  1. Lead and manage the Legal and Assurance team to ensure the delivery of a broad program of expert legal, risk management, compliance, insurance and internal audit advice and services to the University and its controlled entities (as appropriate).
  2. Manage the University’s integrated assurance and internal control policies, procedures and practices including the Compliance Framework, the internal audit Strategy and the Risk Management Framework, with a view to the University meeting its legal, statutory and regulatory requirements.
  3. Manage externally contracted services ensuring quality, timeliness, value for money and knowledge transfer as appropriate.
  4. Manage the delivery of all legal services for and on behalf of the University and its controlled entities (as appropriate), including all outsourced services to external lawyers, and provide high quality, strategic legal advice, representation and other legal services on a wide range of matters including: claims and litigation; drafting and reviewing legal documents; commercial law; property law; trademark and intellectual property; employment law; administrative investigations, complaints and dispute resolution; with a view to protecting the University’s legal, financial and other interests more generally.
  5. Provide management and oversight of the Internal Audit team, including performance reviews, recognising its functional independence, to ensure that value add and improvement in the University's operations is provided through a systematic and disciplined review of risk management, control and governance processes.
  6. Manage the application of risk management to assist organisational areas, particularly through the Risk Champions, in identifying, analysing and managing risks, enabling the University to make well informed decisions to meet its strategic objectives and to appropriately respond to risks that may impact operations and/or performance.
  7. Manage the insurance arrangements for the University and its controlled entities, including liaising with insurance brokers and insurers to secure appropriate cover on acceptable terms, administering insurance claims, providing timely and accurate advice, and maintenance of the University’s material loss register. Manage the Insurance Overhead’s Account.
  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 responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff.  Your specific level descriptor can be found at:

Professional and Technical

Level 10

Generic Accountabilities 

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

  1. The University General Counsel 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 University General Counsel 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 University General Counsel 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 a Practising Certificate pursuant to the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld).

Selection Criteria

Selection and appointments will be assessed against selection criteria.


  1. Postgraduate qualification in Law with extensive experience in legal practice, preferably with exposure to a wide range of legal matters, and admission or eligibility for admission as a solicitor of the High Court of Australia or the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia.
  2. Demonstrated broad understanding of legal governance, legal risk management, internal controls, compliance and risk frameworks for large complex organisations and an ability to anticipate the impact of high-level decisions across an organisation’s overall operations.
  3. Demonstrated capacity to conceptualise, develop and review administrative policies and functions, a creative and flexible approach to problem-solving, and a sound understanding of the principles of natural justice.
  4. Proven expertise in human, financial and physical resource management or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education and/or training, and an ability to lead and manage staff providing clear performance and business improvement objectives.
  5. Demonstrated advanced  written, oral communication and interpersonal skills, and confidence in dealing with all levels of staff when providing advice on policy matters, the interpretation of legislation and legal issues generally, and the ability to convey seemingly complex issues clearly, concisely and simply.
  6. Proven ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines, manage the service expectations of key customers and maintain effective working relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.


  1. Familiarity with the structure and functioning of universities and the Higher Education Sector more broadly, including a working knowledge of legislation relevant to the University’s operations, or an ability to acquire such knowledge.