Principal Barrister (Enforcement), Legal Services(Ref: 3568)

Natural England

Apply before 11:55 pm on Thursday 30th September 2021


Reference number





Grade 7
Principal Adviser

Contract type


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability
Legal Services

Working pattern

Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber

About the job


This position is based nationally

Job description

The team
We are the Government’s statutory advisor for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This describes an ambitious vision, bringing new opportunities to protect and enhance, and to achieve real outcomes for the environment.

At Natural England, we love what we do. We’re here to make sure people and nature can thrive. A healthy natural environment is fundamental to our wellbeing, prosperity and happiness – that’s why we collaborate with scientists, lawyers, project managers and experts to implement environmental policy and shape decisions.
We work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and customers on a huge range of projects, from influencing construction, advising farmers and landowners how they can manage their land in a sustainable way for the benefit of the environment, gathering and analysing environmental data, and carrying out vital statutory duties. Across the country, we’re helping nature to support people and our planet.

We are focusing our efforts on six key programmes:
Greener Farming and Fisheries – supporting those who manage land and sea to operate in harmony with the environment
Sustainable Development – creating great places for people to live and work
Connecting People with Nature - promoting health and wellbeing through the great outdoors
Resilient Landscapes and Seas – protecting and restoring wildlife and natural beauty for future generations
Specialist Science and Evidence - an evidence-led organisation that is driven by science
Managing the Organisation – gathering business data to enable decision making

Natural England staff are inclusive, motivated and ambitious to achieve results for our environment, for everyone. We welcome and encourage applications from all communities and we operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for the role.
Wherever possible Natural England accommodates requests for both full-time and part-time hours and other flexible working patterns to help employees achieve a good work/life balance and maintain their health and wellbeing.
From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in Natural England is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. Where appropriate there will be offers of training under our apprenticeship schemes.

See more about the work of Natural England at:-

A Rewarding Role

• A unique opportunity to use your litigation skills in the public interest to restore nature in England. Help influence positive environmental outcomes on the ground with your practical legal advice
• Be part of a scientific organisation that is passionate about advising Government and others on the importance of the natural environment
• Join a small collaborative legal team practising in the fascinating and technical area of nature conservation law. This is a rare opportunity to work on high profile, high quality casework in this field
• Natural England has many different powers and duties and the work of its lawyers is incredibly varied offering opportunities to develop expertise in a wide range of areas
• Natural England offers a friendly work environment at various locations across England and welcomes applicants who may be looking to achieve a balance between their personal and professional life.
• Generous benefits package including 33 days leave, 10 training and development days, and civil service pension (pro-rated where relevant).

Job description
A barrister to advise on enforcement and litigation matters.

Key responsibilities will include:
• A key function of the Legal Team is the enforcement of protected site and protected species legislation. The post holder will work with the Natural England’s Head of Legal Services to deliver this work. This will involve:
• day-to-day management of enforcement cases and legal advice in accordance with Natural England’s Compliance and Enforcement Position and Enforcement Guidance;
• representing Natural England as advocate in Magistrates and Crown Court settings;
• acting as the Natural England Legal Services team’s main internal point of enquiry for enforcement legal advice;
• advising Natural England’s Enforcement Team (or others), on Natural England’s investigative and enforcement powers;
• working with investigators throughout the enforcement process;
• advising on the use of Natural England’s civil sanction powers; and
• keeping abreast of legal developments relevant to Natural England’s enforcement actions.
• The post holder will work with the Enforcement Team on training both internally and externally.
• Leading on legal matters, advocacy and strategy in respect of representing Natural England’s interests in appeals under Part 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and appeals under Part 5 of Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2006 (as amended).
• Advising Natural England Enforcement Officers on PACE compliant interviews and the investigation of wildlife offences.
• Providing legal advice, assessment of legal risk and interpretation of legislation, policy and guidance affecting Natural England to officers, managers/Directors, Chief Officers, and the CEO.
• Advising on the impact and development of new legislation and policy and leading on reviews of Natural England’s Compliance and Enforcement Position and Enforcement Guidance.
• Familiarity with nature conservation issues.
• Instructing Counsel and/or other external legal providers as appropriate.
• Participating in multi-disciplinary, cross-department and cross-organisational groups as directed from time to time.
• Collaborating with existing Principal Solicitors, the Enforcement team and Access to Information team. Supporting the Head of Legal Services and Chief Officer for Legal and Governance to provide an exemplary legal service to Natural England.
• Supporting the development of the legal team’s profile both internally and externally including improving links with key stakeholders such as the National wildlife Crime Unit, and Office for Environmental Protection and Crown Prosecution Service via their community liaison panel.
• Frequent travel and some overnight stays, mainly in London but also other locations in England to attend meetings and hearings.

This is a National role and can be based at any of our Natural England offices -
Candidates with disabilities will automatically be put forward to the interview stage provided that they satisfy the minimum criteria for the role. Flexible working patterns will generally be accommodated unless stated otherwise.

How to apply

We'll assess you against the competencies below during the selection process. When completing the application form you should present relevant examples using the STAR format. STAR stands for:

• Situation
• Task
• Action
• Result
Recruitment Framework

Competence 1
Professional competency

Personal effectiveness

• Be ambitious, identify and adopt ways to make improvements in your team and Natural England and inspire others to act. (Expert)
• Make and explain objective decisions which combine your professional judgement and evidence. (Expert)
• Respect the diverse needs and experience of other people, be inclusive in everything you do. (Practitioner)

Competence 2
Professional competency

Leading and managing people

• Use performance management to set clear expectations around delivery, ways of working and personal development, and use the approach to motivate, challenge, review, and develop your team’s performance. (Practitioner)
• Lead by example, engage and support your team through change. (Expert)
• Facilitate and support the personal development of people in your team, enabling them to share expertise and continuously learn. (Expert)

Competence 3
Professional competency

Work delivery

• Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines. (Expert)
• Able to manage all disputes, litigation and inquiries whether in criminal or civil courts, tribunal or any other forum where Natural England's statutory remit is challenged (Expert)
• Be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of corporate governance and risk within which Natural England operates at a local, national and international level. (Expert)
• Understand and be able to interpret relevant international, national and local legislation,
Conventions, byelaws statutory guidance and policy. (expert)
Competence 4
Professional competency

Putting people at the heart of the environment

• Understand the external influences affecting Natural England and assess the implication to the function eg Defra Policy, arms length body reviews. (Expert)
• Listen to and understand our diverse partners and customers so that you achieve the best outcomes for them and Natural England. (Expert)
• Build relationships and effective networks both externally and internally to bring in fresh perspectives, approaches and evidence to raise the profile of both your individual specialist work and that of Natural England. (Expert)

Competence 5
Professional competency

Technical and specialist knowledge

(You do not need to use STAR format for this competency)
• A qualified barrister with between 4-8 years Post Qualification Experience (essential)
• A strong academic and professional background, which could be demonstrated by qualifications and experience from a range of organisations (essential)
• Knowledge of working with the Code for Crown Prosecutors (essential)
• A member of the Bar Council (essential)
• Significant experience in leading on enforcement and litigation cases in environmental law in courts, tribunals or other settings.
• Significant experience in providing expert advice on environmental law.
• Able to determine when it is necessary to stand firm when decisions are challenged and where appropriate to find innovative legal solutions
• Capable of promoting Natural England’s purpose and remit externally, clearly and with enthusiasm.
• Establish self as an enforcement and litigation expert able to build own networks by sharing know how.
• Capable of working collaboratively with the existing legal team, and developing, mentoring and supporting non-legal staff, Senior Solicitors and Paralegals in enforcement and litigation work.
• Able to draft clear and coherent briefings on complex issues.


Please refer to Job Description


Bar Professional Training Course


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

Please refer to Job Description

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Richard Broadbent
Email :
Telephone :  077682 93669
Recruitment team :
Email :

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