December 15, 2023

Legal Counsel

  • Deadline: 21/01/2024
  • Location: Suva, Fiji
  • Organization: Pacific Community (SPC)
  • Salary: FJD $ $91,140 - $113,928
Full Time

The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Executive is made up of the Office of the Director General (DG) based in Noumea and the Offices of the two Deputy-Director Generals (DDGs). The DDG, Science and Capability based in Suva has oversight of the six technical divisions (Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems – FAME, Geoscience, Energy and Maritime – GEM, Human Rights and Social Development – HRSD, Land Resources Division – LRD, Public Health Division – PHD, and Statistics for Development – SDD) and two programmes (Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability – CCES and Education Quality and Assessment Programme – EQAP). The DDG, Operation and Integration has oversight of the Operations and Management Directorate (finance, human resources, IT, publications, property & facilities management, translation and interpretation, legal services, travel, library and administration) and for all regional offices based outside of the Noumea headquarters and the Suva campus.

The role – Legal Counsel will play a key role in maintaining the integrity of SPC’s governance framework and SPC’s internal legal functions through provision of advice on employee relations, contracts, funding arrangements, matters of international law and other legal issues. The Legal Counsel plays a critical role in improving and embedding SPC’s internal regulatory framework, working collaboratively with SPC staff members in all SPC locations to help achieve SPC’s strategic objectives, implement operational policies and manage organisational change.

The key responsibilities of the role include:

Research and Advice
• Provide specialised legal advice, both written and oral, to all SPC divisions on SPC’s internal governance and legal framework.
• Prepare and review memoranda, instruments, contracts, templates and other legal documents. Performs extensive legal research and analysis and prepares legal opinions, briefs, reports and correspondence.
• Handle a wide range of issues relating to international law, international administrative law and the relationship between international and domestic law as it impacts SPC’s operations.

Policy, Guideline, Contract Development and Review
• Contributes to mitigating SPC’s legal risk through continued development and improvement of policies, guidelines, templates and processes.
• Contributes to components of the review, design and updating of SPC governance documents, policies and guidelines.

Outreach, Education and Training
• Provide outreach, education and training and raises awareness of SPC’s governance framework, legal obligations and responsibilities to SPC staff and members.
• Mitigate SPC’s legal risk through education and training.
• Contributes to the development and presentation of training on governance and legal issues, processes and policies to multi-level audiences across SPC.

Collaborative Working
• Builds strong collaborative relationships internally throughout SPC and with external stakeholders. Participates in the development of “One OMD for one SPC”.
• Participates actively in a collaborative and supportive environment within the Governance and Legal Affairs Team and across SPC.

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.

Key selection criteria

• Post graduate degree in law.
• Meets the professional requirements to practice law in one (1) or more jurisdictions of an SPC member country or territory, or similar legal system.

Technical expertise
• Demonstrable experience and understanding of legal issues facing inter-governmental agencies.
• At least 5-6 years PQE in providing legal advice on legal, governance, and organizational issues.
• Experience in a development organization.
• Strong analytical and conceptual skills.
• Excellent legal analytical skills.
• Demonstrated experience and knowledge in the legal systems of the member countries and territories of SPC.

Language skills
• Excellent English communication skills (oral and written) with a working knowledge of French being an advantage.

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
• Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment.

Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration – 3 Years – subject to renewal depending on funding and performance.

Remuneration – The Legal Counsel is a band 10 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 2,575‒3,218 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 7,595–9,494 (USD 3,450–4,313; EUR 3,268–4,085). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.

Benefits for international employees based in Fiji – SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,350–3,000 per month. Establishment and repatriation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave travel, health and life and disability insurances and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 working days of annual leave per annum and other types of leave, and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.

Recruitment principles – SPC’s recruitment is based on merit and fairness, and candidates are competing in a selection process that is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory. SPC is an equal-opportunity employer, and is committed to cultural and gender diversity, including bilingualism, and will seek to attract and appoint candidates who respect these values. Due attention is given to gender equity and the maintenance of strong representation from Pacific Island professionals. If two interviewed candidates are ranked equal by the selection panel, preference will be given to the Pacific Islander. Applicants will be assured of complete confidentiality in line with SPC’s Privacy Policy.

How to apply:

Application procedure

Closing Date: 21 January 2024 at 11:59pm (Fiji time)
Job Reference: JM000512

Applicants must apply online at
Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.
For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:
• an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
• a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
• responses to all screening questions

Your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage if all the above documents are not provided. Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. SPC may assist on a case-by-case basis with submissions to Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their consideration and final approval. SPC cannot and does not make any guarantee whatsoever of approval for such applications to Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs and where an application is approved, the spouse or partner will subject to such terms and conditions as may be set from time to time by the Ministry.

SPC does not charge a fee to consider your application and will never ask for your banking or financial information during the recruitment process.

Screening Questions (maximum of 2,000 characters per question):
1. Provide insights into your experience with dispute resolution, mediation, and litigation, especially in international contexts. Share any cases where you have been directly involved and your approach to achieving favourable outcomes.
2. Interactions with non-governmental organisations, private sector entities, and civil society are essential for many intergovernmental organisations. Can you provide examples of your collaboration with these external stakeholders and the outcomes achieved?
3. Effective risk management is crucial in your role. Share your approach to identifying legal risks, assessing their potential impact, and developing strategies to mitigate or manage them.