● To carry out complex legal work for, and to provide legal advice to, the Council with particular emphasis on the Council’s housing functions and other contentious work.
● To undertake a full and substantial caseload of civil and criminal litigation on behalf of the Council with specific emphasis on all aspects of housing law and such other contentious business of the Council as may be directed from time to time, including advocacy and representation in the courts and at proceedings brought against the Council.
● To prepare for and undertake advocacy in the civil and criminal courts and tribunals as directed by the Principal Solicitor or Director of Law and Democracy.
● To instruct external specialist Counsel and solicitors in unusually complex or specialist matters.
● To advise Client Services of the Council on general legal matters, with particular reference to housing law and litigation.
● To assist the Principal Solicitors/Lawyers and Director to draft reports to Council, the Executive, its committees and sub committees and other Member and officer level meetings.
● To scrutinise, comment on and prepare legal implications for reports to the Council, the Executive and its committees within the areas of housing law and general litigation.
● At the request of the Principal Solicitors of Director, to attend relevant committees, sub committees and other meetings to provide legal advice.
● To maintain an up to date and comprehensive knowledge of developments in the areas of law undertaken by the postholder and to disseminate that information and any implications for the Council to relevant Senior Council Managers and members of the Team as necessary.
● In conjunction with the Principal Solicitor, to ensure that the provision of housing advice by the litigation section meets clients’ expectations and agreed targets of performance and demonstrate that the section is accountable and actively pursuing quality assurance and customer care policies
● To assist the Principal Solicitor and Head of Service to support client departments through training and the provision of appropriate legal information.
● To work closely with, and advise, the council’s Housing Department on methods of improving court action, preparation of evidence and conduct of cases to achieve the best outcome for the Council.
● To work closely with the council’s Housing Department to enable them to ensure that they understand and are applying correctly the public law equality duty.
● To carry out such duties commensurate with the post as may be required from time to time
● Knowledge of local authority law and practice and the issues facing local government.
● Knowledge of general criminal and civil litigation, e.g. a good knowledge of the civil and criminal procedure rules.
● Knowledge of specialist areas of law, eg housing law..
● Excellent technical knowledge of civil and criminal law, housing law and other contentious areas of law relevant to the legal work of local government.
● Knowledge and awareness of the different role of staff and elected members.
● Ability to manage a full and substantial caseload that is both complex and diverse.
● Ability to prioritise based on a full and proper assessment of risk.
● Effective written and oral communication skills including the ability to negotiate and influence at a level commensurate with the role.
● Good analytical and evaluation skills.
● Sensitivity to the different needs of client departments, elected members, senior management and members of the public.
● Ability to prepare evidence and advise on case progression.
● Ability to carry out advocacy in the courts,
● Ability to demonstrate and encourage initiative and effective teamwork.
● Good and effective knowledge of relevant IT systems, databases and research tools.
● Excellent experience of criminal and civil litigation,housing law and other areas of contentious legal work.
● Experience of working within a local authority legal services department, or an equivalent public services environment.
● Experience of advising at all levels of an organisation and also advising the public.
● A practising solicitor or legal executive.
Nature of Contacts:
● Service managers, who commission legal services from the postholder.
● Members, for advice in committee meetings and generally.
● SMT and senior management, who commission legal services and to whom the postholder will account for service standards and performance issues.
● Legal services team, for whom the postholder will assist in setting the direction and performance targets.
● Principal Solicitor, to whom the postholder is accountable and whom the postholder will assist to provide an efficient, proactive and progressive legal service.
● External solicitors, barristers, court administration staff and judges, in the progression and handling of litigation.
● Legal Services staff in other Councils, to compare and benchmark performance
● National accreditation and regulatory bodies, e.g. the Law Society, the Information Commissioners’ Office, the Local Government Ombudsman etc.
● Specialist external Counsel and other legal providers, for the commissioning of specialist complex legal work as and when necessary.
● Members of the public in relation to case work, queries etc.
● IT providers, for the provision of case management packages, online research facilities etc.