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Legal Officer

currently open

The facts

Job description

You’ll be a qualified barrister or solicitor, providing legal advice to our staff both in the UK and on operations.



Pay after training


Joining age

21 - 35

Similar civilian jobs

  • Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • Legal practice manager
  • Personnel manager
  • Legal adviser

Usual service

6 years and thereafter by competitive selection


Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth. You may also join if you have dual UK/other nationality

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

Member of the Bar and completed pupillage or qualified solicitor in the UK. GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum or 2 SNEs at Grade 5 or equivalent, in English Language and Maths. * - Applications from older candidates, especially those with previous commissioned service and/or relevant experience, may be considered on their merits.


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.

The job

The RAF needs qualified barristers and solicitors to tackle the many – and often unique – legal challenges which the Service presents.

You’ll advise in criminal cases and conduct prosecutions both in the UK and overseas.

You will also provide specialist legal advice to Ministry of Defence (MOD) departments, RAF Commands and formations, station commanders and the RAF Police.


Your brief could include Air Force law, the law of armed conflict, new legislation or the host of civil issues that affect RAF personnel.

Your career will also stretch way beyond the courtroom. You’re an officer first – and we’ll ask you to take managerial responsibility outside your specialist sphere.

If you can successfully demonstrate your abilities, then an excellent career structure should see you progress through the ranks in competition with fellow legal officers.

This could see you move into the senior leadership of the Branch and, potentially, become Director as an Air Vice Marshall.

I do this job

Legal Officer

Elaine McLelland
Legal Officer

‘I’ve met people who'll be my closest friends for life in the RAF.’

My role

‘I advise station commanders on legal matters, particularly criminal charges brought against RAF personnel on stations. I also advise on anything from health and safety legislation to the Human Rights ACT.’

My day

‘I’m stationed in Cyprus at the moment. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working in the legal aid clinic where we see people who need advice about financial problems, matrimonial law or child custody issues.’

My experiences

‘I always wanted to travel and I certainly have since joining up! I’ve provided legal advice to people in Iraq, Brunei, the Falklands, Kosovo and Germany.

‘You have opportunities to experience things civilians just don’t, like visiting the Pentagon and working on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Mediterranean.’

My life

‘If I’d stayed in private practice, I’d be doing the same thing day in day out. That wasn’t something that appealed to me. The RAF has given me the chance to work on a much wider range of legal issues.’


Initial Officer Training

Like all our Specialist Branch officers, you’ll begin your RAF career on the Specialist Entrant and Re-entrant (SERE) course at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

You’ll follow an 11 week course specially designed for professionally qualified entrants to the RAF.

The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.

Specialist Training

As a fully qualified solicitor or barrister, you will already have the core legal skills to do your job.

However, during your induction training at the Directorate of Legal Services (RAF) you will receive an introduction to those aspects of law in the RAF that may not be familiar to you, with more in depth training in areas relevant to your first Legal Officer appointment being provided by the team to which you are assigned.

Thereafter, you’ll gain hands-on experience on the job and, throughout your career, you will be offered opportunities to develop and experience new areas of legal practice, including international humanitarian law, as well as the same though-life Professional Military Development as all other RAF officers.

Ongoing Development

In accordance with Bar Council or Law Society policy guidance, you’ll be able to maintain your Continuing Professional Development currency through a combination of accredited external and internal legal training.

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll join the RAF as a flight lieutenant on a Short Service Commission of six years.

After a period of productive service, you may apply for your commission to be converted to a full Permanent Commission.

This is by competitive selection, but if successful, you will have the opportunity to serve for 18 years or to the age of 40 years, whichever is the later.

If promoted, also by competitive selection, through squadron leader to wing commander you will be entitled to serve to age 60.

Transferable skills

As a Legal Officer in the RAF, you’ll have all the developmental opportunities and career prospects of your civilian counterparts, together with the chance to work around the world and gain unique experience of the law, which will stand you in good stead if you return to civilian practice.

In addition, you will have developed leadership and managerial skills that will be invaluable in civilian life.

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

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  • Sat9am to 6pm
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