Senior Legal and Governance 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.

The role – the Senior Legal & Governance Counsel plays a lead 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 Senior Legal & Governance Counsel plays a lead role in setting the direction for the Governance and Legal Affairs team, improving and embedding SPC’s internal regulatory framework, managing a small team, and working collaboratively with the Executive and 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 the following:

Research and Advice

  • Provide high level expert advice and counsel, both written and oral, to all SPC divisions on SPC’s internal governance and legal framework, and frequently on a variety of highly complex issues.
  • Prepare and review memoranda, instruments, contracts, templates and other legal documents. Performs extensive legal research and in-depth analysis and prepares legal opinions, briefs, reports and correspondence.
  • Identify, research, and analyse governance and legal issues that affect SPC and its activities at national, regional and international levels associated with SPC’s activities, ongoing operations, and strategic initiatives.
  • Provide legal representation to the Secretariat before SPC’s governing bodies and manage a full range of associated governance and legal responsibilities for SPC.
  • Lead in the implementation and protection of SPC's privileges and immunities to support the effective conduct of SPC's business.
  • Provide expert advice and lead on any dispute or litigation across the organisation.

Policy, Guideline, Contract Development and Review

  • Lead the team in mitigating SPC’s legal risk through continued development and improvement of policies, guidelines, templates and processes.
  • Lead the review, design and updating of SPC governance documents, policies and guidelines.
  • Leads on special legal and governance projects.

Outreach, Education and Training

  • Lead on providing 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.
  • Develop and lead training on governance and legal issues, processes and policies to multi-level audiences across SPC.

Leadership and Mentorship

  • Lead a team providing high quality governance and legal advice across SPC, including to the Executive, the Regional offices, OMD and divisions and manage a full range of governance and legal issues and responsibilities for SPC under the supervision of the Chief Legal Counsel.
  • Led in developing a “One OMD for one SPC” culture.
  • Foster a collaborative and supportive environment within the Governance and Legal Affairs Team and across SPC.

Systems and Processes

  • Lead on improving legal and governance processes and tools to assist in building understanding and compliance at SPC.
  • Identify and collaboratively implement improvements in processes, procedures, tools and systems, including monitoring and evaluation.

Strategy, Planning and Reporting

  • Play a lead role in developing and overseeing the implementation of the Governance and Legal Affairs Team's strategy, in particular in relation to governance.
  • Lead on the annual development and maintenance of a Governance and Legal Affairs work plan.
  • Reporting on legal and governance matters to senior organisational stakeholders.


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, organisational 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

  • Demonstrable experience and understanding of legal issues facing inter-governmental organisations.
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience.
  • Experience in a development organisation.
  • Very strong analytical and conceptual skills.
  • Excellent stakeholder management, communication and negotiation skills.
  • Excellent legal analytical skills.
  • Experience in managing or supporting organisational change in a complex environment.
  • Experience managing a small team of staff.
  • Demonstrated experience and knowledge in the legal systems of the member countries and territories of SPC.

Language skills

  • Fluent in English and French.

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Ability to work well in a multi-cultural and gender-sensitive environment.


Salary, terms and conditions

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

Remuneration – the Senior Legal & Governance Counsel is a band 12 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of SDR (special drawing rights) 4,792-5,894 per month, which converts to approximately XPF 725,912-892,813 (USD 6,421-7,898; EUR 6,083-7,482). 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 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 private policy.


Application procedure

Closing date: 10 December 2023 – 11:00 pm Noumea time

Job Reference: CR000144

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.

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: (2.000 characters maximum per question)

  1. Give examples of your work in promoting good governance practices, transparency, and accountability within an organisation.
  2. Describe a successful legal project that you have managed from start to finish. What were the key objectives, challenges, and outcomes, and how did your leadership contribute to its success?
  3. What is your vision for the role of Senior Legal and Governance Counsel at SPC? How do you see the role evolving in response to future challenges and opportunities?


Position Description

Type: Contract - International

Category: Legal

Reference ID: CR000144

Date Posted: 09/11/2023