Legal Advisors (LEGADs) in the New Zealand Army work in what could be best described as a “Specialised General Practice”.
There are four main areas of Law:
This includes aspects of international law and international humanitarian law, including laws of armed conflict (LOAC) and rules of engagement.
Interpreting and advising on the policy and law in relation to personnel within the three Services.
Constitutional law, statutory reform and judicial review.
LEGADs advise commanders at all levels as to the enforcement of military discipline.
You will serve initially at Headquarters, New Zealand Defence Force, Wellington, as part of the Directorate of Legal Services performing general in-house counsel duties. The Directorate is required to provide advice to the Chief of Defence Force, single Service Chiefs of Staff and other military and civil members of the New Zealand Defence Force.
Your advice may be sought of a wide range of subjects:
There is an emphasis in the duties of an LEGAD on Armed Forces and criminal law. In these areas, advice may be required on:
LEGADs may also be called upon to provide legal advice in respect of complaints by members of the Armed Forces and the executive and administrative acts affecting the conditions of service of members of the Armed Forces.
Officers of the Directorate of Legal Services may be required to prosecute from time to time at the Court Martial of New Zealand, appear on behalf of the Chief of Defence Force in the Court Martial Appeal Court, formulate and implement policy on legal matters and assist with training the Armed Forces in Armed Forces law.
LEGADs may deploy in a variety of roles, including as an advisor to a New Zealand commander for a specific mission, or as part of an international headquarters, such as ISAF. LEGADs are expected to be able to prepare and advise their commanders on all relevant legal matters that may arise during the deployment including, but not limited to:
You will be employed initially at Headquarters, New Zealand Defence Force, Wellington, as part of the Directorate of Legal Services. At the rank of Lieutenant you will be required to attend the Junior Command Course, the Intermediate Command Course and complete distance education packages as part of the Junior Staff Officers’ (JSO) Course. Upon successful completion of the JSO course, two years satisfactory service as a Lieutenant, and command approval, you may be promoted to the rank of Captain.
Your initial remuneration will be based on previous experience and skill level. This is negotiated on a case by case basis. As your career continues, remuneration will increase on promotion and seniority.
You must have obtained an LLB with a B+ average.
It is preferable for LEGAD’s to have some form of post admission experience (preferably two years) within a civilian law firm.
A good understanding of criminal justice and procedure, and public law would be expected.
LEGAD's advise commanders on legalities of intended courses of action and management of areas of risk. So potential LEGAD's need to have the following:
If you are required to attend a Professional Legal Studies course, for the purpose of obtaining admission as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court, you will incur a return of service for two years upon completion.
Upon successful completion of an Officer Selection Board and enlistment into the Army you will be posted to LINTON Army base near Palmerston North. Here you’ll do 6 week of officer military training course to find out if you have got what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:
As a junior LEGAD you will complete an intensive university-level course in military law. Other specialist training is provided as appropriate on an ongoing basis, most of which is conducted in-house. Throughout your career you will have the opportunity to attend specific military law courses and exercises within New Zealand and overseas. You will be encouraged to pursue relevant postgraduate study opportunities, particularly towards the LLM degree, through the various study schemes offered by the NZ Army.
You will be given the opportunity to develop your advocacy skills by appearing as junior counsel in the Court Martial and the Summary Appeal Court.
You will also participate in the NZDF litigation skills programme, which mirrors that run by the New Zealand Law Society, with instruction from specialist litigators.
All LEGAD's are encouraged to undertake additional NZDF courses to enhance their general Army and military skills and therefore their deployability.
LEGADS are required to serve across all Services. Accordingly, although you may wear an Army uniform you may be expected to either complete a Tour of Duty or a posting on a Royal New Zealand Air Force Base or aboard a Royal New Zealand Navy Ship or Base. Postings are generally 2-3 years long.
LEGADS should not expect to remain in the same location for the entirety of their careers.