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Programme Lawyer

  • Channel 4
  • London, UK
  • 21/07/2021
Full time

Job Description

Job Title: Programme Lawyer
Reports to: Head Lawyer, Programme Compliance/Head Lawyer, Commercial Compliance 
Department: Legal & Compliance
Location: This role can be located from the Channel 4 London or Leeds offices.

The award-winning Legal and Compliance Department advises the Channel's editorial staff and its programme makers on all content-related legal and compliance issues relating to the making and broadcast of programmes and other content on all Channel 4 platforms, before and after broadcast.

In addition, they provide guidance on ethical issues and best practice in relation to the making and broadcast of our programmes.

The aim of the department is to enable the broadcast of bold programmes and cross-platform activities, whilst minimising the risk of legal attack or regulatory difficulty after transmission.  This requires a close working relationship of trust and co-operation between producers and the Channel's editorial and legal staff. 

This can range from attending meetings and viewings across genres, advising teams on filming in hostile environments, watching live programmes to ensure any problems are dealt with immediately, through to advising on ground-breaking programmes such as Dispatches, whilst remaining in the confines of the regulatory codes.

A lawyer providing comprehensive legal and regulatory advice across the nations and regions on programme and online content issues published in all media including television, online and emerging technologies; and the robust defence of all legal and regulatory challenges to such content.


  • Programme and online content legal advice – pre and post broadcast.
  • Programme content regulatory advice e.g. including the Ofcom Broadcasting Code - pre and post broadcast.
  • Advice on editorial ethics affecting programme making and online content.
  • Handling reviews into programme and online content issues before and after broadcast.
  • Handling and drafting responses to regulatory investigations including Ofcom standards, fairness and privacy complaints.
  • Drafting policies, guidelines and protocols for management of the above programme and online areas.
  • To attend and advise at recordings, ‘as- live’ and live broadcasts.
  • Training internal staff and external suppliers on legal, compliance and editorial ethical issues affecting programme and online content.
  • Speaking as a representative of the Department at external media law conferences and on appropriate media platforms.
  • Pre and post litigation management including instructing counsel and external solicitors.
  • Lobbying – on both regulatory and legal issues affecting the making and broadcast of programmes and online content in conjunction with other broadcasters and the Media Lawyers Association.
  • To liaise and work closely with commissioning and online, press, corporate, creative services, marketing and senior executives.


  • To keep up-to-date on all key legal and compliance developments.
  • Understand editorial ambitions and provide clear and robust legal and compliance advice that realises this ambition.
  • Adequately protect the Corporation and producers and ensure that editorial content can be robustly defended.
  • To work within Channel 4’s editorial reference-up procedures, in addition to seeking guidance from more experienced lawyers where there is a fine judgement call, lack of precedent or a complex issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Strong element of risk analysis and assessment involved in activities which may result in Ofcom sanctions, awards of damages and costs or a breach of criminal law.
  • Utilise external resources such as freelance media lawyers, barristers, solicitors and foreign lawyers to provide specialist legal advice.
  • Influence and guide Independent Producers, C4 Commissioning Editors and other key internal staff in order to ensure that any conflicting opinions reach a consensual decision.
  • Responsible for drafting responses to standards and fairness/privacy complaints to Ofcom and other regulators of content and to represent C4 at regulatory hearings where required.
  • To liaise with other broadcasters and the Media Lawyers Association on impending legislative/ regulatory changes and lobby as required.
  • Balance the constraints of commercial imperatives potentially cutting across the legal and compliance advice.
  • Operate with a view to ensuring the legal and compliance risks taking account of emerging technologies and risks associated with that.
  • Contribute to the successful departmental reputation of creative and proactive advice enabling Independent Producers and Commissioning Editors to make and broadcast the most challenging and creative programmes and material on all platforms, whilst providing a strong defence to legal or regulatory or press challenge, thereby directly having an influence on the Channel 4 output, reputation and brand.


  • Professionally qualified Solicitor or Barrister.
  • A demonstrable interest in media law and regulation.
  • Experience of drafting user-friendly protocols, guidance notes and articles aimed at lay clients.
  • Demonstrable skilled influencer, negotiator and communicator at all levels regarding legal and compliance issues.
  • Experience of public speaking.
  • Demonstrable passion for freedom of expression.
  • Effective communicator.
  • Committed team player with a demonstrable ability to work effectively under pressure and to tight deadlines.


  • An in depth understanding of media law and regulation including defamation, contempt, privacy, data protection and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and Guidance.
  • Experience in advising pre and post publication on media law and regulation concerning programme and/or online and/or other media content.
  • Experience of media litigation – defendant and/or claimant work.