GLD offers £180,000 for government's next top lawyer

Recruitment firm to get up to £45,000 to assist in search for Treasury solicitor to succeed Sir Jonathan Jones
Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/PA Images

The Government Legal Department is offering up to £180,000 for government’s most senior lawyer to succeed Sir Jonathan Jones, who quit last month in a row over the internal market bill.

The recruitment for the next Treasury solicitor and head of the GLD is being carried out by search firm Odgers Berndston – at a cost of up to £45,000, a contract published last week shows. 

The successful candidate will provide legal advice to the prime minister and other senior ministers, the cabinet secretary and fellow permanent secretaries, a job advert said.

The advert was published yesterday, seven weeks after Jones resigned over the government’s plans to use sections of the internal market bill around state aid rules and the Northern Ireland protocol in a way that would "eliminate the legal force of parts" of the Brexit agreement with the EU.

His successor will have a wide-ranging brief, but their work will have a “strong focus on public and constitutional law, national security issues and the interface of law, politics and propriety”, the job advert said.

The successful candidate, who will also be the head of the more than 2,500-strong government legal profession, must be a senior barrister or solicitor with broad experience in the law of England and Wales, including a “strong background” in public law.

They must have a “sharp intellect”; excellent communication skills, and the ability to secure the confidence of ministers by providing sound legal advice, often under extreme time pressures.

The job description noted that there is a “significant external and reputational element” to the role.

The Treasury solicitor is the public face of the government legal profession and needs to command the respect not just of ministers and colleagues but also of the senior judiciary, the legal profession and international counterparts especially in the US, the EU and other common law jurisdictions,” it says.

And they will need “extremely well-developed political acumen” and a “deep understanding of the political environment and an ability to see the wider strategic context”.

To lead the GLD, they must also have “confident, inclusive and compassionate leadership skills, with a proven ability to deliver change and to enthuse and lead”, the ad says.

“Central to this will be a commitment to diversity, and to creating a truly inclusive working environment.”

They will earn between £162,500 and £180,000, and will report to cabinet secretary Simon Case. The salary is in line with previous years, with Jones earning between £170,000 and £175,000 last year, according to the latest GLD accounts.

Applications close on 16 November.

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