Chief Legal Counsel

Nouméa, New Caledonia

  • Noumea-based position
  • Attractive expatriate package
  • Join the principal development organisation in the region



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 unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

SPC and its secretariat shares the vision for our region adopted by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism: Our Pacific vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives. SPC’s mission is to work for the well-being of Pacific people through the effective and innovative application of science and knowledge, guided by a deep understanding of the Pacific Islands’ contexts and cultures.

SPC’s headquarters are in Noumea, New Caledonia. Our other offices are the Fiji Regional Office in Suva, Fiji; the Micronesia Regional Office in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia; the Melanesia Regional Office in Port Vila, Vanuatu; and a country office in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The role – the Chief Legal Counsel will uphold the integrity of SPC’s governance framework; lead SPC’s internal legal functions through provision of advice on employee relations, contracts, funding arrangements, matters of international law and other legal issues; and improve and embed SPC’s internal regulatory framework. She/he will work collaboratively with the Executive and Senior Leadership Team 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 the following:

  • Provide high level leadership to strengthen SPC’s internal governance and mitigate SPC’s legal risk through improved transparency, policies, processes, education and training.
  • Lead and manage the Governance and Legal Team in providing high quality governance and legal advice across SPC.
  • Provide legal representation to the Organization, support the work of the Organization and manage the full range of governance and legal strategies and responsibilities for SPC.
  • Set the strategy and goals for the Governance and Legal Affairs team in alignment with the goals of the Pacific Community Strategic Plan.
  • Lead complex legal projects that span legal, business, and functional boundaries.
  • Provide counsel to staff in all departments on a variety of complex issues. Identify, research, and analyze governance and legal issues that affect the Organization and its activities at national, regional and international levels associated with the Organization’s activities, ongoing operations, and strategic initiatives.
  • Develop and provide trainings on governance and legal issues, processes and policies to multi-level audiences across SPC.
  • Develop and manage the Governance and Legal Affairs budget.

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


Key selection criteria


  • Post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline (e.g. economics, law, development studies, business, public administration, organizational development, procurement).
  • Meets the professional requirements to practice law in one or more jurisdictions of an SPC member country or similar legal system.

Technical expertise

  • Experience at an executive or senior management level that includes at least 10 years at a national or international level.
  • Excellent leadership and management skills, including demonstrated general management, people management and financial management skills.
  • At least 12 years PQE in providing legal advice on governance or organisational issues.
  • Very strong analytical and conceptual skills.
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills.
  • Experience in managing organisational change in a complex environment.
  • Understanding of legal issues facing inter-governmental agencies

Language skills

  • SPC’s official working languages are English and French.

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural and gender-sensitive environment.
  • Knowledge of Pacific Island countries and territories is an advantage


Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration – This vacant position is budgeted for 3 years and is subject to renewal depending on funding and performance.

Due to the current travel restrictions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the priority SPC places on its staff safety, health and well-being, please note that there may be delays in taking up the appointment. These matters will be discussed thoroughly with successful candidates. In most cases, any appointment and on-boarding would only commence when relocation to the duty station is permitted.

Remuneration – the Chief Legal Counsel is a band 14 position in SPC’s 2022 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 6,155-7,597 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 881,359-1,087,916 (USD 8,801-10,864; EUR 7,386-9,117). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration being given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale is based on annual performance reviews. SPC salaries are not presently subject to income tax in New Caledonia.

Benefits for international staff employees based in New Caledonia – SPC provides subsidised housing in Noumea. 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 bilinguism, 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 begiven to the Pacific Islander. Applicants will be assured of complete confidentiality in line with SPC’s private policy.


Application procedure

Closing date: 4 September 2022 – 11:00 pm (Noumea time)

Job Reference: AL000487

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.


Screening questions (maximum of 2.000 characters per question):

  • What do you consider are the strategic governance and legal issues facing the Pacific Community as an intergovernmental organisation over the next three years?
  • Please describe your experience in strengthening internal governance within an organisation and driving improved understanding across the organisation to minimise organisational risk and lift compliance.
  • Please describe your experiences in working with and leading multi-cultural and multi-lingual teams


Type: Contract - International

Category: Legal

Reference ID: AL000487

Date Posted: 25/07/2022