Senior Principal Lawyer - Head of Regulation, Scotland

Equality and Human Rights Commission

  • Team: Scotland Legal, Regulatory Network
  • Grade: Senior Principal (Grade 6)
  • Salary: £61,117 PA (pending a pay award for 2022/23)
  • Location: Glasgow. With occasional travel to other locations to meet business needs.
  • Closing: 11:59pm, 24th Aug 2022 BST

Job Description

About us

We are Britain’s national equality regulator and a United Nations accredited ‘A status’ national human rights institution.

We uphold people’s rights without fear or favour. We use the full force of our legal powers to defend people from unfair or unequal treatment and to challenge breaches of the law. We advise on developing laws and provide guidance, training and support to enable compliance.

We bring people together to create change. We work with employers, governments and a wide range of organisations, to promote understanding of equality and human rights and we support them to make improvements in practice.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has an ambitious new strategy, focusing our resources on where we can make a real, lasting difference to people’s lives across Britain.  We will use our powers to tackle unlawful discrimination, improve equality outcomes and protect and promote human rights. As a regulator, we have a strong set of powers and levers, and our aim is to use all of these to the greatest possible effect, across the most challenging issues facing Britain today. These range from upholding rights and equality in health and social care, against the context of the inequalities exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic, to addressing the growing equality and human rights impact of digital services and artificial intelligence so that people are not left behind as services move online, or unlawfully discriminated against by automated decision making.

To ensure we fulfil the ambitions in our new strategy, we continue to develop and strengthen our regulatory model and we’re investing in building our regulatory capability. We want to constantly learn about and improve how we regulate most effectively, and we are committed to the continuing growth and development of our teams. Working with us should enable colleagues to develop and deepen their knowledge of and expertise in equality and human rights law, as well their skills and confidence as regulators.

Overview of the role and responsibilities

Our new Senior Principal Lawyer – Head of Regulation, Scotland will play a pivotal role in the effective delivery of the Commission’s regulatory work. The role will be key to achieving the Commission’s strategic ambitions in and for Scotland while also making an important contribution as a leader in our wider regulatory network. Over the next few years this will involve overseeing a wide range of regulatory interventions in Scotland, including strategic litigation and enforcement, negotiating and monitoring section 23 agreements, and providing expert legal advice to a range of audiences including our Board, on complex areas of law. The successful candidate will lead a talented regulatory team in Scotland, delivering a varied portfolio of regulatory work.

This is an opportunity for an experienced legal professional to make a significant contribution in equality law in Scotland, as well as contributing to the continuing development of our regulatory approach. This role is strategically influential, ensuring our work in and for Scotland is informed by deep contextual and legal knowledge, and that this expertise and understanding also shapes our overall regulatory priorities across Britain.

You will:

  • Lead a regulatory team of up to nine colleagues, deploying resource and developing and implementing operational plans for the Scotland team, as well as the team’s involvement in wider regulatory network. This will include coordinating and overseeing litigation work the Commission supports, overseeing and contributing to complex legal advisory work, other legal projects and compliance interventions, ensuring all work is timely, accurate and delivered to a high standard.

  • Provide specialist technical expertise and advice on the use of the Commission’s powers to clarify or strengthen the legal framework; provide assistance to individuals to take action and seek redress on strategic issues and to challenge decision makers where they have not complied with the Equality Act 2010. This includes using our powers under the Equality Act 2006 to support or assist litigated cases, seek injunctions or judicial review, and to intervene in existing litigation.

  • Provide expert advice on complex legal advisory work, including on statutory inquiries, our parliamentary work, treaty monitoring advice, quality assurance of guidance, reports and publications, legal correspondence and policy briefings

  • Ensure the successful delivery in Scotland of our section 28 Equality Act 2006 legal support funding projects.

  • Build and maintain constructive and collaborative relationships with key internal stakeholders, including the wider regulatory network, the Scotland policy team, the Commission’s Communications team and the planning and strategy teams. Support and coach your team to work in a collaborative and cross-functional way.

  • Play a strong leadership role in and for Scotland, the regulatory network within which your team sits, and the Commission as a whole. Contribute to the development of the Commission’s strategy and business plans. Ensure consistency of approach, and understanding and application of the law, identifying and flagging risks that may arise through, for example, policy or legislative difference between Scotland and England/Britain.

  • Develop and maintain relationships with a range of external stakeholders, including other regulators, public bodies and legal stakeholders. Represent the Commission externally as required.

Team Responsibilities

The Scotland regulation team delivers a varied portfolio of legal and compliance work, including legal case work, enforcement activity, strategic litigation, monitoring legal agreements, developing guidance and training for external bodies (for example on the Public Sector Equality Duty), monitoring compliance with legal obligations and providing legal expert Scottish legal advice on relevant policy or legislative proposals. They keep abreast of significant equality developments, from relevant legal cases to emerging legislation, and take regulatory action where appropriate. They ensure we are using our regulatory powers and levers effectively and with impact in Scotland, and that the Commission’s wider programme of work is well informed by a strong knowledge and understanding of the context in Scotland.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The successful candidate will be a very experienced lawyer with a demonstrable ability to manage high performing teams, ideally in a regulatory or similar context. They will be a credible and persuasive communicator, with excellent judgement and discretion. They will be qualified in Scottish law and have good knowledge and understanding of equality and human rights legislation.

The role requires intellectual depth, team leadership, and excellent relationship-building skills, including the ability to establish yourself and build credibility with senior stakeholders.

You will need to be able to lead, manage, motivate and develop a team working across a varied portfolio of work, often in demanding timeframes.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience required include:

Essential Qualifications

  • Qualified to practise as a solicitor or advocate in Scotland, with substantial post-qualification experience.

Essential knowledge skills and experience

  • The ability to manage and direct a team of up to nine people, which provides specialist technical expertise and advice on Equality and Human Rights law and practice.

  • Demonstrable experience of successfully managing and prioritising completing demands on staff time and resources to deliver agreed outcomes.

  • Proven experience and ability in the expert conduct and supervision of complex litigation, or other relevant regulatory legal work.

  • The ability to lead and quality assure to the highest standard all outputs and to take personal conduct of the most high risk, complex or sensitive legal work.

  • Experience of undertaking complex analysis of facts and law, and to communicate conclusions, risk assessments and recommendations in a confident and persuasive manner, engaging professionally and diplomatically with senior staff and the board.

  • Proven knowledge of the Equalities Acts and Human Rights Act, as well as other legislation relevant to our statutory functions.

  • The ability to work effectively as part of a leadership team, and contribute to developing the strategic direction and operational effectiveness of the wider organisation.

  • Experience of successfully engaging with and influencing senior external stakeholders, to achieve satisfactory regulatory or other negotiated outcomes.


  • Experience of leading/managing a multidisciplinary team and operating successfully in a cross-functional and interdependent working environment.

  • Experience of delivering or managing regulatory compliance work, such as influencing standard-setting, developing guidance, advice, training and/or education.


In addition to a competitive salary, we offer a range of benefits including flexible working patterns, 30 days annual leave plus 8 bank holidays (full time FTE), access to the Civil Service Pension Scheme and partnership pension schemes, and enhanced parental leave benefits. More information can be found in the candidate pack.

How to apply

If this sounds like the role for you, please review the attached Candidate Pack for more information and submit your application today!

If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Killeen, Director of Regulation, 0161 829 8100.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As a Disability Confident Leader, the Equality and Human Rights Commission offers an interview for people with disabilities (as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004) and who meet the minimum criteria for this appointment. 

Where high numbers of applications are received, the candidates that best meet the minimum criteria for the role may only be invited to interview.

If you wish to apply for consideration under this scheme, or request any reasonable adjustments please complete the appropriate section on the online application form. This will enable us to make the appropriate arrangements, if necessary.

Diversity in our workforce

At the Commission, we are proud of our respectful workplace that values the contribution of all our staff, whatever their background.  We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Our recruitment decisions are based on fair, open competition, with appointment on merit. We welcome applications from everyone to ensure we achieve a balanced representation in our workforce in all grades.

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Applications closed Wed 24th Aug 2022


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Applications closed Wed 24th Aug 2022