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Principal Environmental Lawyer - The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP)

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 7: £47,549 - £54,728 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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Develop your legal expertise as you help to shape a new public body

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.


This is a chance to utilise your legal expertise across a wide array of areas in a fast-moving environment. Working alongside other lawyers and the Complaints and Enforcement team, you will initially develop the OEP's statutory Enforcement Policy as well as other legal policies and procedures. Later you will provide expert legal advice on the validation of complaints and potential breaches of environmental law.  You may also have the opportunity to support a specific high-profile investigation or piece of thematic analysis.

About you

A qualified and experienced Solicitor, Barrister or Chartered Legal Executive, you’ll have a track-record of advising on UK public law or environmental law. Ready to advise confidently at senior management and Board level, you’ll also have the ability to negotiate with and influence others. You’re someone who can see the big picture as well as focus on the fine legal details. You must also be resilient, adaptable and able to work at pace across a wide range of projects.  Above all, you’ll have the potential and enthusiasm to grow with our organisation.


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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