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Legal Officer

About the Role

Org. Setting and Reporting

The post is located in the Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA), Office of Administration of Justice (OAJ) in Nairobi.

The Office of Staff Legal Assistance is headed by a Chief, who without prejudice to his or her responsibility to provide legal assistance to staff members in an independent and impartial manner is accountable to the Executive Director. Under the authority of the Executive Director, the Chief is responsible for the management and proper functioning of the programme of legal assistance to staff members in the internal justice system, including in administrative, disciplinary and appellate proceedings before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal.

The Legal Officer will report to the Chief of OSLA. Responsibilities

Within delegated authority and depending on location, the Legal Officer may be responsible for the following duties:

  • Provide legal assistance to the persons included in the scope of the administration of justice as defined by General Assembly resolution 63/253 on ‘Administration of Justice in the United Nations;
  • Advise clients on issues relating to appeals against administrative decisions and the imposition of disciplinary matters;
  • Represent and litigate on behalf of clients before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal; Prepare written and oral submissions to these bodies and ensure that they meet procedural requirements;
  • Identify, where applicable, cases that are amenable to informal resolution, such as settlement or mediation and assist clients in the process;
  • Assist in responding to complex inquiries and correspondence; Identify legal issues, drafts review and advise on legal documents and correspondence; Conduct extensive legal research and provide detailed analysis of cases and jurisprudence;
  • Provide legal advice on diverse substantive and procedural questions;
  • Assist the Office in producing accurate, comprehensive submissions, including by reviewing draft submissions for any inconsistencies or inaccuracies;
  • Assist in maintaining the Office’s registers (electronic and online) and a legal precedent reporting database;
  • Assist in the preparation of reports on the work of the Office to the General Assembly and other bodies, as may be mandated;
  • Assist in ensuring administrative and budgetary requirements of the Nairobi Office or other relevant OSLA duty station;
  • Perform other duties as required. Competencies
  • Professionalism: Knowledge of all relevant rules and regulations, policies, procedures and operations of the United Nations, as well as of the applicable jurisprudence; Ability to apply legal and administrative expertise to analyze a diverse range of complex and unusual legal issues and problems, both individual case and policy-related and to develop innovative and creative solution; Strong analytical skills and ability to conduct comprehensive legal research on a range of issues, including those of a unique and/or complex nature; Proficiency in legal writing and expression and ability to prepare legal briefs, opinions, legal submissions/motions, and related documents; Ability to conduct trials on behalf of clients, through leading and cross-examining witnesses and making substantial legal arguments before Tribunal judges; Discretion and sound judgment in applying legal expertise to sensitive, complex legal issues; Strong negotiating skills and ability to influence others to reach agreement; Ability to work with tight deadlines and handle multiple concurrent projects/cases; Knowledge of the UN system, organization and interrelationships; 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.
  • Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client. Education

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

Work Experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing is required.

A minimum of two years as an advocate/litigator before courts and tribunals is required.

Experience within the UN common system, similar international organizations or national government is desirable. Languages

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. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is desirable. Assessment

Evaluation of qualified applicants may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview. Special Notice

  • The position is temporarily available as soon as possible for a period of 364 days with a possibility of extension. If the selected candidate is a staff member from the United Nations Secretariat, the selection will be administered as a temporary assignment.
  • The recruitment for this position is subject to post availability.
  • A current staff member who holds a fixed-term, permanent or continuing appointment may apply for temporary positions no more than one level above his or her current grade. However, a current staff member who holds an appointment at the G-6 or G-7 level may also apply to temporary positions in the Professional category up to and including the P-3 level, subject to meeting all eligibility and other requirements for the position. In accordance with ST/AI/1999/17 section 2.3, an SPA may only be granted to one level higher than the personal level of the staff member assigned to higher-level functions in his or her own category, whether the higher-level functions are one or several levels higher than the personal level of the staff member. Staff in the General Service and related categories temporarily placed against a post at the Professional level may receive an SPA to the P-1 or P-2 level.
  • A staff member holding a temporary appointment shall be regarded as an external candidate when applying for other positions, and may apply for other temporary positions at any level, subject to section 5.7 of ST/AI/2010/4 Rev. 1. below and staff rule 4.16 (b) (ii). For full information on eligibility requirements, please refer to section 5 of ST/AI/2010/4Rev.1 on Temporary Appointments.
  • While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post. An external candidate selected for this position is bound by the prevailing condition of the staff selection system under ST/AI/2010/3, as amended, and ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1. A staff member holding a temporary appointment who is recruited in the Professional and above categories on a temporary appointment, and placed on a position authorized for one year or longer may not apply for or be reappointed to his/her current position within six months of the end of his/her current service. This provision does not apply to staff members holding temporary appointments and placed on positions authorized for one year or more in duty stations authorized for peacekeeping operations or special political missions.
  • Subject to the funding source of the position, the eligibility for this temporary job opening may be limited to candidates based at the duty station.
  • This temporary job opening may be limited to “internal candidates,” who have been recruited through a competitive examination administered according to staff rule 4.16 or staff selection process including the review of a central review body established according to staff rule 4.15.
  • For information on special post allowance, please refer to ST/AI/1999/17.
  • For more details on the administration of temporary appointments please refer to ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1.
  • The Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and administrative issuances governing staff appointments can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/hr_handbook/English
  • Staff members of the United Nations common system organizations who will reach the mandatory age of separation or retirement within the duration of the current temporary need period are not eligible to apply. Submitting an application or selection for the current temporary job opening does not delay or increase the mandatory age of separation.
  • Retirees above the mandatory age of separation who wish to be considered for the current temporary job opening must indicate the reason for their last separation as “retirement.” Such retirees shall not be employed by the Organization, unless (a) the operational requirements of the Organization cannot be met by staff members who are qualified and available to perform the required functions; and (b) the proposed employment would not adversely affect the career development or redeployment opportunities of other staff members and represents both a cost-effective and operationally sound solution to meet the needs of the service.
  • The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance and geographical diversity in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.
  • At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

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