Job Opening

Posting Title: LEGAL OFFICER, P4 [Filled from Roster]
Department/Office: Office of Legal Affairs
Duty Station: NEW YORK
Posting Period: 13 June 2017 - 27 July 2017
Job Opening Number: 17-Legal Affairs-OLA-80621-R-New York (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Special Notice

The funding for this position is of a temporary nature. Recruitment, selection or extension of appointments against this position will be subject to budgetary approval.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located within the Secretariat of the United Nations in the Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC), Office of Legal Affairs (OLA). The incumbent will report to the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and, as appropriate, the Principal Legal Officer or Senior Legal Officer.


The incumbent shall be responsible for the performance of assigned duties within the area of responsibility of OLC, which may include any of the following:
(1) Public International Law
- Provide legal advice on a wide variety of issues of international law as they arise, including questions relating to international peace and security and use of force under the United Nations Charter, human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as international judicial and non-judicial accountability mechanisms; treaty law and practice, to a wide variety of clients, including the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and their subsidiary organs, the Secretary-General, Secretariat departments and offices, and the specialized agencies and related organizations.
- Formulate draft statements on important issues of international law for the Secretary-General, the Legal Counsel and the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.
- Prepare responses to request for information related to public international law from governments, inter-governmental organizations and institutions, and the public.
(2) Constitutional and Procedural Questions
- Advise on questions posed to the Secretariat and to secretariats servicing United Nations bodies relating to the interpretation and application of the United Nations Charter, other constitutive instruments of United Nations bodies, multilateral or bilateral treaties and agreements, United Nations resolutions and decisions, rules of procedure, and other instruments, so as to ensure uniform and consistent interpretation of the law and practice in those bodies, with respect to questions of mandate, powers, membership, representation, status in the United Nations or other relevant fora, and specific terminologies.
- Assist the Secretary of the Credentials Committee in providing oral or written advice on credentials and on the interpretation and application of rules of procedure of organs and subsidiary bodies, United Nations Conferences, their preparatory bodies and preparatory commissions established by such the United Nations Conferences.
- Assist in the overseeing and supervision of elections of members of United Nations bodies.
- Serve as OLA focal point for issues related to non-governmental organizations.
(3) Privileges and immunities
- Provide advice on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations and United Nations system and of their personnel.
- Prepare draft host country, conference and other agreements, as well as other legal texts and instruments required for the conduct of operational activities carried out by the United Nations.
- Provide advice to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the negotiation and establishment of uniform Basic Assistance and Cooperation Agreements for their activities in Member States, as well as legal assistance to United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP), and other Programmes and Offices in the conduct of their operations in the field.
(4) Peacekeeping and special political missions
- Provide legal advice on issues related to the relevant Security Council resolutions, status of forces or mission agreements, rules of engagement, privileges and immunities, international human rights and humanitarian law and other instruments relating to field missions.
(5) International justice
- Provide advice on questions relating to the institutional framework on judicial accountability mechanisms for international crimes, including those related to the operations of United Nations and United Nations-assisted tribunals and courts.
- Contribute to the preparation of reports to the General Assembly or Security Council as appropriate and assist in the performance of the Secretary-General’s functions related to United Nations and United Nations-assisted tribunals and courts as provided in relevant Security Council resolutions or other instruments.
- Serve as a focal point for the Secretariat on matters related to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), including discharging the statutory functions of the Secretary-General under the ICJ Statute, keeping the Secretary-General up to date on the latest decisions of the Court, drafting briefing notes and talking points for the Secretary-General for meetings touching upon ICJ cases, and maintain close contacts with the ICJ.
(6) Secretariat and Representational Functions
- Serve as Secretary of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country; prepare notes and statements for the Chairmen and the Rapporteurs, as well as other reports and documents.
- Represent OLC in inter-departmental committees, working groups and task forces.
- Present papers and participate in conferences and training courses sponsored by United Nations organs, governments, international organizations or societies on legal issues within the competence of OLC.
- Assist in the organization and coordination of annual meetings of common system legal advisers.
- Prepare budget narratives, work plans and other administrative tasks as assigned by the Assistant Secretary-General.
- Act as liaison with the Spokesperson's Office.
(7) Other
- Provide guidance to more junior staff, exercise supervisory functions where required.
- Perform other duties as assigned.


Professionalism: Theoretical knowledge in relevant fields of public international law; analytical and drafting skills; discretion and sound judgment in applying legal expertise to sensitive, complex legal issues; ability to prepare legal briefs and studies on a variety of legal issues and instruments; knowledge of the United Nations system, organization and interrelationships; ability to supervise, coach, mentor and develop junior staff as required; shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations; takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Planning & Organizing: develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in law is required. It is desirable that the degree has emphasis in public international law. A first-level university degree in law in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience in public international law may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible professional experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing is required. Experience as a legal officer in the legal department of a government or an international organization; or a lecturer or professor of international law in a university is required.

The following experience is desirable:
1.Seven years of experience in public international law covering at least three of the following areas:(1) constitutional or procedural questions related to intergovernmental organizations; (2) privileges and immunities of intergovernmental organizations; (3) mandates and operational framework for peacekeeping operations and special political missions; (4) international justice framework and institutions; (5) United Nations sanctions regimes; and (6) Secretariat or representational functions in intergovernmental settings.

2.Experience as a legal officer in the United Nations or another related intergovernmental organization.

3.Experience in the preparation of talking points for senior officials or giving oral presentations on complex issues of public international law to governmental or intergovernmental audiences.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable.


The assessment of candidates may include both a written examination and a competency based interview.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity, including but not limited to, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to, whether they have committed or are alleged to have committed criminal offences or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the At-a-Glance on "The Application Process" and the Instructional Manual for the Applicants, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The screening and evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications, including but not limited to, their education, work experience, and language skills, according to the instructions provided on inspira. Applicants will be disqualified from consideration if they do not demonstrate in their application that they meet the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations. Applicants are solely responsible for providing complete and accurate information at the time of application: no amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to a reference-checking process to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at midnight (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
Home | Privacy notice | Site map | Fraud alert | Contact Us
Copyright 2019 United Nations. All rights reserved