Legal Adviser – Office for Students


£49,613–£54,222 + £5,000 allowance (and London allowance of £3,566 where appropriate)

Generous Civil Service defined benefit pension

London or Bristol

Multiple roles available

Develop your legal expertise in an organisation that’s shaping policy and regulation

The challenge

Make a real difference to the lives of students by bringing your legal skills to the Office for Students (OfS). As the independent regulator of higher education in England, we ensure the best experience and the best value – for students, for taxpayers, for the economy and for the public good. This is an opportunity to grow your legal expertise by working across our diverse and rapidly evolving organisation on a wide range of regulatory and corporate issues.

The role

You’ll lead on provision of legal advice and support for a broad range of legal matters. As well as advising on precedent-setting matters of higher education and public law, you can expect a varied and evolving caseload, where you will advise on matters of consumer protection, charity law, human rights, data protection and information law. Expect to work collaboratively with internal legal and policy colleagues, as well as external legal support.

Responsibilities may include:

Acting on a wide range of legal matters running in parallel – providing advice and support on the following legal areas and topics:

• Legislation applying to the higher education sector including the Higher Education and Research Act 2017;

• Data protection and information law, including legislation implementing the GDPR and the Freedom of information Act 2000;

• Legal topics relevant to decision making and supporting processes, such as public law principles, statutory duties and considerations, the delegation of functions and equalities legislation;

• Human rights law;

• Charity law;

• The law relating to defamation;

• Managing the conduct of litigation activities, such as judicial review proceedings, statutory appeals and regulatory investigations (including the use of dawn raid powers);

• Consumer protection law;

• The use of the OfS’s enforcement and information gathering powers;

• The regulatory framework and registration conditions that apply to higher education providers.

Supporting the Head of Legal Services and other senior lawyers in operating the legal function within the OfS

• Commissioning external legal support (including Counsel);

• Fees are negotiated with external legal and other support service providers and Barristers’ clerks in order to ensure value for money;

• Lead on the production of internal guidance documents on key legal and regulatory issues to a high standard;

• Training for the legal team is organised in line with professional CPD requirements

External and internal stakeholder management

• Working closely with the Head of Legal Services and senior lawyers in the team to deliver the objectives of the OfS;

• An understanding of senior leadership team objectives, concerns and aspirations is developed;

• Engages with internal and external stakeholders, including by building on proven experience of developing and maintaining productive relationships with key internal stakeholders, eg heads of teams, policy leads

Knowledge development

• An expert knowledge and understanding of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 is developed;

• A thorough knowledge and understanding of the work and operations of the OfS is established

About you

This role would suit a qualified solicitor or barrister with a strong interest in public law and regulatory issues, and a flexible, creative approach. Excellent written and spoken communication and presentation skills are essential, including the ability to influence and negotiate. While your legal career to date may have been in a different sector, you will have directly transferable regulatory and/or public law experience. We offer a supportive environment that enables you to get up to speed, but you will need experience or a strong interest in acquiring skills in:

  • working on litigation cases involving judicial review and/or regulatory appeals;
  • the interpretation of regulatory rules such as licence conditions;
  • the interpretation and application of sector-specific legislation which relates to a regulatory body; and
  • investigation and enforcement in a regulatory context.

The OfS currently uses a set of ‘enablers’ to evaluate candidate strengths. This is your opportunity to expand on what you have achieved in your career by describing what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. It is here you should use detailed examples to explain how you meet all the requirements of the job description. We are looking for how you made your own contribution to a scenario, why you made that contribution and what was the outcome. Assertions without evidence will, in contrast, make it difficult to evaluate your skills and how you apply them. When completing your application, please note that there is a word limit of 250 words per enabler.

The enablers for this role are:

Knowledge and Learning

• To have an eye for detail and be able to see the bigger picture and awareness of the political and wider context in which a regulator such as the OfS operates.

• Knowledge and understanding of judicial review proceedings and statutory appeals in a regulated sector.

• Knowledge of public law issues relevant to a regulatory body, including principles relating to consultation.


• Able to manage own workload, operate proactively and plan ahead for anticipated tasks, resolve competing demands, and cope with changing priorities in a flexible and proactive way ensuring that key priorities are delivering to time and quality

• Effective case and upwards management, providing clear briefs to senior legal colleagues and delivering the required outputs to time and quality to both internal and external stakeholders.


• Excellent communication skills, oral and written

• An ability to develop and present persuasive arguments, negotiate with and influence people in a constructive manner to ensure the best outcome.

• Proven ability to provide clear, pragmatic and risk-based legal advice.

• Ability to chair meetings, giving presentations and facilitate discussions to an agreed outcome.

• Be able to build and maintain constructive relationships with colleagues within the OfS, other government departments and internal and external stakeholders


– Proven team player with strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to debate complex legal and regulatory issues in a constructive and professional manner.

• Able to establish and maintain constructive working relationships within OfS and with key external stakeholders

Working for us

The OfS regulates the higher education sector on behalf of all students. We value diversity and the wealth of perspectives, experience and ideas that it brings to our work, and we strive to embed equality of opportunity in everything we do.

We recruit based on fair and open competition and welcome applications from candidates regardless of age, disability, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.

Flexibility is important to the OfS, as we recognise that such flexibility can enable people to work more effectively. A set of organisation-wide principles shape our approach to flexible and hybrid working, which our teams then use as guidance on how they deliver their business goals. To attract the widest possible field of qualified applicants, flexible working, for example job share and part time working, apply to this role.

For more information and to apply please visit

Closing date: 31 May 2023

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