Sanctions Challenges Officer

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 07

Position description

You will be at the forefront of the FCDO’s sanctions work, using this powerful tool to achieve priority foreign policy objectives; you will work across all our sanctions regimes, giving you significant exposure to wider foreign policy thinking in the FCDO. 

The Sanctions Litigation Unit is an expanding team at the heart of a FCDO-wide effort across multiple departments and works closely with the Legal Directorate as well as FCDO geographic and thematic desks in managing the thousands of UK and UN designations in place. Your work will have a direct, real-world impact.

We are seeking candidates for two roles in the Sanctions Litigation Unit; working in a collegiate and supportive team you will:

  • Work across all of our sanctions regimes, working closely with geographical and thematic teams, Posts, legal advisers, external counsel, OGDs to advise senior officials and Ministers on specific cases;
  • Work closely with geographical desks, Legal Directorate, Information Rights Unit, Central Litigation Unit, and other government departments to respond to sanctions challenges, ensuring a consistent and co-ordinated response;
  • Manage designation cases to ensure risks are identified, monitored and mitigated; and
  • Lead reviews of existing sanctions designations and reviewing representations by designated persons including drafting advice to Ministers.

This is a demanding policy and project delivery role and will test your ability to work at pace across a broad portfolio to drive results in the context of significant uncertainty. It requires an ability to work in a novel and technical area of policy, to quickly grasp and advise on complex detail of particular – often the most complex and fascinating – designations.

Job description

You will work as part of a team to manage legal and other risks to sanctions designations.  Depending on your existing strengths and experience and your exact role in the team, you can expect to:

  • Manage designation cases at risk of legal challenge, ensuring that all aspects of the case are effectively gripped and that all risks are managed and mitigated;
  • Manage Court Reviews where applications have been made to the High Court by those designated and their legal representatives;
  • Manage the review of existing, sanction designations, coordinating evidence gathering, legal review and the necessary clearances, sometimes to tight timetables. 

The role will give you the opportunity to develop a range of operational and policy skills, and to demonstrate a breadth of competencies across policy and delivery that is unusually wide for an HEO role, and to develop an understanding of legislative processes. As with all roles in the Sanctions Litigation Unit, your role may flex in response to shifting priorities, given the fast-moving nature of the Directorate’s policy focus.

While the job is largely governed by legislation, you do not need to be a lawyer; an understanding of the law and how it can applies to casework would be useful.  However, this is not essential as all relevant training will be provided. 

Person specification

It is essential in your application that you provide evidence and proven examples in each of the following Minimum Criteria and Behaviours as far as you are able to do so.  These responses will be further developed and discussed with those candidates invited for interview. 

Minimum Criteria

  • A desire to learn and the motivation to become an ‘expert’ in sanctions policy;
  • The ability and resilience to manage multiple projects concurrently, balancing longer-term work with urgent priorities;
  • Excellent analytical and strategic thinking skills;
  • Strong communication skills, including the ability to present complex and detailed advice clearly to others, including at a senior level, both in writing and verbally;
  • The ability to flex between the detail and the big picture, cutting through to the key issues and challenging the status quo when necessary;
  • Teambuilding skills to build a strong network that can collectively deliver at pace on a shared objective; and
  • An ability to understand and work with legal processes.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Working Together
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Working Together
  • Delivering at Pace


· A Civil Service Pension.
· 25 days Annual Leave per annum.
· 9 days Public and Privilege holidays per annum.
· Learning and Development tailored to your role.

See the attached candidate pack.

Application instructions

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