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Head of Environmental Law - Interim Office for Environmental Protection

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate, CSR, EMS
Town/City Worcester (with options for flexible working)
Salary Additional Information Grade 6: £57,114 - £65,740 Full Time, Part Time or Job Share
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior Level
Deadline 01/07/2021
Company Name Defra
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
Defra logo
Directory Entry : Defra is the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on the environment, food and rural affairs.
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Build a new legal function for a new public body – from the ground up

About us

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is a new public body, which will be the cornerstone of the UK’s environmental governance system following our departure from the EU. From climate change to biodiversity loss, we will hold government to account on its environmental commitments. We will also offer independent oversight and advice on environmental law and other matters relating to the natural environment. 

Until is it legally established as a Non-Departmental Public Body, the Interim OEP will be a division within The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Initial challenges will include developing the OEP strategy and enforcement policy, producing an independent assessment of progress in relation to the government's 25-Year Environment Plan, and determining how the OEP will form and operate.

About the role

The OEP’s legal team will be at the heart of our operations, working on complex, high-profile issues at the cutting edge of environmental public law. Initially they will create the legal framework for the OEP ready for its legal establishment. This will include working on the draft OEP Strategy and with the Complaints and Enforcement Team on the draft Enforcement Policy. They will also support the Interim OEP Complaints team with the validation of complaints received. Once the OEP is established, the legal team will provide legal and governance support to all OEP functions and decision-making.  

As Head of Environmental Law, you will have particular focus on the OEP's scrutiny and advice functions. This will include input into proposed changes to environmental law, and OEP reports on the implementation of environmental law, and environmental protection and enhancement. You will also provide support across the OEP's other business activities, such as corporate and governance issues.

About you

Qualified to practice as a Solicitor or Barrister or Chartered Legal Executive in England and Wales, you will have expert experience of UK public law or environmental law. With a sound appreciation of legal risks, and the ability to analyse and advise on complex and novel legal issues, you will be ready to advise confidently at senior management and Board level. Strong negotiating and influencing skills will be needed to guide discussions with external lawyers and senior colleagues during complex legal disputes. You must also be resilient, adaptable and able to work under pressure across a wide range of projects.


We aim to support the professional and personal wellbeing of everyone in Defra. Our benefits include generous annual leave, a contributory pension, staff bonuses and recognition, salary sacrifice benefit options, and an employee discount scheme. We also offer flexible working and a variety of learning and development opportunities.

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