Solicitor – Reference CB47844

(Two posts; one permanent and one for a three year fixed period)

Location: Edinburgh, Dingwall or Eurocentral (Holytown)

Salary:  £35,839 to £40,350

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What does SEPA do?

SEPA has a clear vision for our future role: we aspire to be an environment protection agency for the 21st Century recognising that “the only successful societies in the 21st Century will be ones that are very low in environmental impact”. This will require major innovation. SEPA knows we need to support people and businesses across Scotland to achieve this. So, we need the best people working for us to support the innovation in Scotland that will drive 21st Century success.

Traditional environmental regulation has achieved a lot.  We now need to build on these achievements understanding that the most successful societies in the 21st century will be those that can bring environmental, economic and social objectives together.   Our Statutory Purpose encapsulates this challenge – it requires us to protect and improve the environment in ways that also create health and well-being benefits and sustainable economic growth.

To deliver this purpose, we need a new approach to regulating; an approach that helps to put Scotland on a path that creates prosperity within planetary limits. This approach is set out in One Planet Prosperity - Our Regulatory Strategy.

We are recruiting these posts within the Compliance & Beyond (C & B) Legal Function to support the delivery of One Planet Prosperity.

What does the Compliance & Beyond (C&B) Legal Function do?

SEPA has two legal teams: Corporate Legal Services, which provides SEPA with a range of commercial and corporate legal advice; and the C&B Legal Function.

The C&B Legal Function is involved in many aspects of SEPA’s delivery of One Planet Prosperity, including its work on tackling non-compliance, improving enforcement, reforming permissions, development of the Integrated Regulatory Framework, and development of Sector Plans.

Our Function provides legal advice on environmental law in the context of regulatory, administrative and criminal law. We work collaboratively with staff across SEPA to enable SEPA to take informed decisions on managing legal risk, particularly in relation to enforcement activities, the interpretation of legislation and the implementation of new legislation. We also support SEPA in defending appeals or other legal challenges against its regulatory decisions.

There are 18 people in our Function with a mixture of full-time and part-time staff, based in Edinburgh, Dingwall and our office at Eurocentral, near Glasgow.

You can find out more about SEPA does on our website.

So what will you be doing?

  • Providing professional legal support to SEPA’s operational functions.
  • Providing legal advice and direction to officers on legal options and solutions in relation to enforcement activities.
  • Providing legal advice to officers in relation to the completion and submission of reports to Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) recommending criminal prosecutions.
  • Providing legal advice to officers on permits.
  • Supporting Legal Senior Managers to defend appeals against regulatory decisions.

Here’s what some of the members of the team have to say about working for SEPA and the work that we do


One of our team, Emma Blain, was interviewed for the Law Society of Scotland Journal . Alison York, our Head of Legal, took part in an in-house lawyer’s round table discussion  and in this article talked about what it is like working in-house in SEPA.

For further details please view the individual job description.

What skills and attributes will you need?

Whilst you need strong legal technical skills, that doesn’t mean that you need to have huge amounts of environmental law experience to join us. We are looking for lawyers with transferable skills and experience, whether these have been gained in-house or in private practice. A good SEPA lawyer has to be a great communicator and able to translate complex law into plain English. You also need to be able to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and to be pragmatic and flexible. A key part of the role is being able to think creatively in terms of finding solutions to difficult or novel regulatory matters.

For further details, please see the person specification in the individual job description.

What are the terms, conditions and benefits that SEPA offers?

You will be expected to work 35 hours per week. We have a flexitime scheme in place. You will be given 29 days annual leave pro rata (rising to 33 days after 5 years reckonable service), we also offer seven additional public holidays and two additional  volunteering leave  days each year. Further information on all our benefits can be found on our website.   

At SEPA we recruit based on merit and are committed to promoting diversity throughout our organisation.  That is why we proudly use the “Happy to Talk Flexible Working” as well as the “Disability Confident Employer” Logos and on all our job vacancies.

When is the closing date?

The closing date for these roles is Sunday 1 March 2020 at midnight.

Apply for this role by clicking here.