AIR FORCE OFFICER / FULL TIME / VIEW RESERVE JOB

Legal Officer


Providing close legal support to Air Force commanders across Australia and on military operations overseas, being an Air Force legal officer offers a legal career like no other.

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Job Overview


About the Job

On a day-to-day basis, Permanent Air Force (PAF) legal officers may provide legal advice to Air Force leaders at all levels, from commanding officers to the Chief of the Defence Force. PAF legal officers will also be deployed overseas in order to provide legal support to military commanders, or in order to perform specific tasks, for example, as legal advisers in peacekeeping or targeting missions.

The primary areas of practice for PAF legal officers are administrative law, military discipline law, and international and operations law. These areas reflect the key roles of PAF legal officers: assisting commanders with the management of their personnel, ensuring the smooth operation of the military justice system, and enabling military operations and military aviation in Australia, and overseas, to comply with Australia's domestic and international legal obligations.

Outside of these key areas, PAF legal officers will assist in identifying and advising on the full range of legal risks that are relevant to the activities of the Air Force and the Australian Defence Force. These legal risks can arise under, for example, environmental law, work health and safety law, and contract law.

Exceptionally, PAF legal officers may also provide personal legal advice to Air Force personnel in relation to their conduct, or take on non-legal Air Force postings, in management or instructional positions.

To succeed as a PAF legal officer, you need to have a willingness to learn about the full range of work undertaken by the Air Force: from air shows to targeting, and from managing the welfare of personnel to advising on cyber operations. PAF legal officers are expected to be able to build strong professional relationships with their commanders and their colleagues, remaining impartial while providing practical solutions that enable the Air Force to accomplish its missions. And, given the important role of PAF legal officers in training Air Force personnel on the application of the law to their work, Air Force also expects PAF legal officers to have the ability to distil complex legal concepts into clear and understandable ideas.

Administrative law: Commanders frequently turn to legal officers to ensure they comply with the requirements of administrative law when they make decisions that affect ADF members. Consequently, legal officers may provide advice on equal opportunities and anti-discrimination matters, on responses to applications for redress of grievance, and the conduct of administrative inquiries. PAF legal officers also play an important part in training commanders and other ADF personnel who are involved in administrative decision-making.

Operations and International Law: PAF legal officers provide advice on domestic and international law and their effects on the use of aerospace power. As Air Force continues to develop its unmanned aerial vehicle and cyber capabilities, Air Force legal officers are also playing a role in advising on the application of the law to these new areas. International law issues may include the interpretation and negotiation of international treaties, agreements, and memoranda of understanding, international air and space law, the law of the sea, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and UN Security Council Resolutions. Operations law also includes all aspects of law that may impact on Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations, including domestic law issues.

Military Discipline Law: The Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (DFDA) provides a code of military discipline for the ADF. Specialist legal input is necessary because of the complexity of the work undertaken under the DFDA. Legal officers provide legal reports for reviews of proceedings, and can act as counsel. Legal officers also play an important part in training commanders and other ADF personnel who are involved in the military discipline process.

Other areas of practice: Legal officers will also provide advice in relation to workplace health and safety, copyright law, environmental law, management of common law claims, and government contracts.

Graduate

Make the most of your relevant degree joining fully qualified

Undergraduate

Join while still at university and have your remaining study fees sponsored

Learn more about Entry Methods


Salary can be over $80,600 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.


FULL JOB DETAILS

This entry method is currently not recruiting

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

Salary (excluding allowances) on appointment will be at Legal Level 1, $56,953 per year ($2,184 per fortnight).*

Uniform Allowance at a rate of $682 per year ($26 per fortnight) is paid to assist members to maintain an approved scale of uniforms in good order and condition.

Service Allowance at the rate of $12,924 per year ($497 per fortnight) is paid to compensate for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Salary will continue to increase on Legal Level, rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.

Locations

RAAF Legal officers currently serve on most Australian bases: RAAF Base Amberley (Brisbane), RAAF Base Edinburgh (Adelaide), RAAF Base Wagga, RAAF Base Richmond (Sydney), RAAF Base Williamtown (Newcastle), RAAF Williams (Melbourne), RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Pearce (Perth) and RAAF Base East Sale. One legal officer serves with the RAAF unit in Butterworth, Malaysia. Initially, however, most legal officers will serve at Headquarters Air Command located at Glenbrook (west of Sydney), or at Defence Legal Division in Canberra.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry. Maximum age on entry is 56 years of age.

Education & Experience

As a Graduate entrant (Direct Entry), you must have completed a university degree in Law and have been admitted to practise as a legal practitioner to a Superior Court. If you have not yet been admitted to practise but are eligible, or will become eligible for admission, you will be considered on the basis that you intend to apply to be admitted, and are so admitted at the time of appointment in the Air Force.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of two years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation and provide a minimum of three months notice.

Additional Requirements

Candidates for entry as Legal Officer must be of good character with no criminal convictions. A number of lesser convictions or infringements may also render the candidate less competitive for Legal Officer specialisation.

At minimum, candidates must be of good character and standing to obtain a restricted practising certificate in one Australian State or Territory. Candidates must also be able to obtain membership from a State or Territory legal professional body (eg, law society or bar association).

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Recruitment Centre or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 17 Weeks

Immediately upon joining the Air Force, direct entry officers will normally undertake the Initial Officer Course of 17 weeks duration. This is a live-in course completed at RAAF Base East Sale, located 220 kilometres east of Melbourne (VIC).

The major elements of the course involve introduction to military life, Air Force Values and attitudes, Ground Defence and Weapons training, Leadership and Personal Development, Communication Skills and Air Force Operations studies.

Further details on officer training are available on the Officers Training School website or refer to the Joining Instructions.

The information on the website and in the Joining Instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before appointment in the Air Force and give you an overview of the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course.

During Military (Initial Officer) Training and (Initial) Employment Training (if applicable), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

The Professional Development program categorises PAF legal officers into 5 levels. The most experienced legal officers are level 5 officers. The program offers courses in the three core fields (military discipline law, administrative and operations law) leading to a Graduate Diploma (Grad Dip) and then a Masters degree in Military Law (LLM). Receipt of the Grad Dip (or equivalent) is a requirement for advancement from Legal Level 2 to Legal Level 3 and the LLM to move from Legal Level 3 to Legal Level 4.

All PAF legal officers of the rank of Squadron Leader are expected to be competent in one of the three core areas; Wing Commander in two areas; and Group Captain in all three fields. The program has been developed under a contractual arrangement with the Australian National University in Canberra. The Law School oversees implementation of the academic program and awards diplomas and degrees to successful participants.

Training is also available and encouraged in advocacy, contracts, environmental law and claims: skills that are particularly important during operational deployments.

This entry method is currently not recruiting

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

With 3 years to graduation: $34,761 per year ($1,334 per fortnight).*

With 2 years to graduation: $40,110 per year ($1,539 per fortnight).*

In final year: $45,457 per year ($1,744 per fortnight).*

Trainees with dependants may be entitled to Trainee's Dependant Allowance which is paid to enable trainees with dependants to receive a salary not less than $43,766 per year ($1,679 per fortnight) while training. Conditions apply. Speak to your Careers Counsellor for details.

Uniform Maintenance Allowance at a rate of $419 per year ($16 per fortnight) is paid to assist members to maintain an approved scale of uniforms in good order and condition. This increases to $682 per annum ($26 per fortnight) after commissioning.

On completion of studies, salary (excluding allowances) at Competency level 1 is $56,953 per year ($2,184 per fortnight).*

In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $12,924 per year ($497 per fortnight) except while undertaking Academic, Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family. It is not payable during Undergraduate sponsorship.

Salary will continue to increase based on Competency Level, rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank.

Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.

Locations

RAAF Legal officers currently serve on most Australian bases: RAAF Base Amberley (Brisbane), RAAF Base Edinburgh (Adelaide), RAAF Base Wagga, RAAF Base Richmond (Sydney), RAAF Base Williamtown (Newcastle), RAAF Williams (Melbourne), RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Pearce (Perth) and RAAF Base East Sale. One legal officer serves with the RAAF unit in Butterworth, Malaysia. Initially, however, most legal officers will serve at Headquarters Air Command located at Glenbrook (west of Sydney), or at Defence Legal Division in Canberra.


Requirements

Age

The maximum age for entry is such that an applicant must be able to complete their degree, any periods of postgraduate experience, or professional development placements and their Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation incurred under the scheme prior to compulsory retirement age (normally 60 years of age).

Education & Experience

To be eligible for an Air Force Undergraduate sponsorship, applicants must have completed:

  • Year 12 with passes in English and three other Board of Secondary School Studies registered subjects
  • The first full year of study (preferably with academic results) of a full-time Bachelor of Laws degree.

You may apply after successfully completing the first semester of your first year of university studies. However, entry will be conditional upon successfully completing your first year of tertiary studies.

After graduating, you will be required to complete practical legal training for admission as a legal practitioner to a Superior Court. This training may consist of 12 months articles or a practical legal training course at an approved institution.

This entry mode attracts a debt' roughly similar to the maximum rate of HECS costs ($10,000 per annum). In general terms, this debt accrues (increases) whilst you are undertaking study, with the maximum debt reached on completion of study. Once the period of study has ended, the debt begins to acquit (reduce) for the remainder of your Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS). Once the IMPS period is complete, there is no remaining debt.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) dependant on your length of sponsorship. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation and provide a minimum of three months notice.

The length of IMPS in total will depend on the duration of sponsorship. Any requirement for post-graduation experience, eg: medical residency, legal articles will be incorporated in your IMPS.

Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.

Additional Requirements

Candidates for entry as Legal Officer must be of good character with no criminal convictions. A number of lesser convictions or infringements may also render the candidate less competitive for Legal Officer specialisation.

At minimum, candidates must be of good character and standing to obtain a restricted practising certificate in one Australian State or Territory. Candidates must also be able to obtain membership from a State or Territory legal professional body (eg, law society or bar association).

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Recruitment Centre or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 1 week + 17 Weeks

During your first year of sponsorship you'll attend a one-week Familiarisation Course at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC. This will introduce you to basic military protocols and procedures.

Then following graduation you'll undertake a 17-week Initial Officer Course to learn about Air Force values and attitudes, and engage in:

  • Ground defence and weapons training
  • Leadership and personal development
  • Communication skills and
  • An introduction to Air Force operations.

For further details on officer training refer to the Joining Instructions. The information in the Joining Instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before appointment in the Air Force and give you an overview of the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course.

During Military (OTS) Training and any subsequent (Initial) Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

The Professional Development program categorises PAF legal officers into 5 levels. The most experienced legal officers are level 5 officers. The program offers courses in the three core fields (military discipline law, administrative and operations law) leading to a Graduate Diploma (Grad Dip) and then a Masters degree in Military Law (LLM). Receipt of the Grad Dip (or equivalent) is a requirement for advancement from Legal Level 2 to Legal Level 3 and the LLM to move from Legal Level 3 to Legal Level 4.

All PAF legal officers of the rank of Squadron Leader are expected to be competent in one of the three core areas; Wing Commander in two areas; and Group Captain in all three fields. The program has been developed under a contractual arrangement with the Australian National University in Canberra. The Law School oversees implementation of the academic program and awards diplomas and degrees to successful participants.

Training is also available and encouraged in advocacy, contracts, environmental law and claims: skills that are particularly important during operational deployments.