UN Women: Chief, Legal Office (RE-ADVERTISEMENT)

Advertised on behalf of :

Application Deadline :03-Feb-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-5
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Chief, Legal Office will provide high quality legal advice and support to the UN Women Executive Director, senior management, HQ units, country offices on a wide range of multidisciplinary legal matters relating to the interpretation and application of international, public, private and administrative law, in the following broad areas:

  • Legal status, authorities, privileges and immunities, and relationships with UN Women Governing Bodies, Programme Country and Partner Governments;
  • Corporate, commercial and private law matters, including legal support to the Organization’s financial and procurement operations;
  • Administrative law matters relating to the Organization’s relationship with its staff members, including legal support to human resources management issues.

The Chief, Legal Office will also lead and manage the Legal Office in UN Women, and co-ordinate UN Women’s relationships with, and represent UN Women’s interests before, external entities, networks and bodies.

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide strategic legal advice, guidance and counsel:

  • Serve as the Head of the corporate legal office and be responsible for providing the highest quality legal analysis and advice to the Executive Director and senior management team on a wide range of complex and strategic issues in relation to UN Women operations in Headquarters, Regional Hubs and Country Offices.
  • Through the Legal Office staff, provide counsel to Headquarters units, Regional Offices, Country Offices and other offices/units.
  • Lead the development of a corporate legal strategy that promotes and protects organizational interests.
  • Lead the preparation of legal opinions on cases involving unusual and/or complex legal issues, including cases for which no or few precedents exist.

Provide the highest quality legal advice and support in relation to UN Women’s procurement, resource mobilization and programmatic activities:

  • Provide strategic advice during senior-level negotiations of complex contracts, and other legal instruments, agreements and arrangements with external partners (including but not limited to other United Nations organizations, civil society and the private sector).
  • Review, negotiate and settle claims and disputes arising from agreements, contracts and other arrangements.
  • Lead the negotiation and establishment of host country, conference and other agreements, constitutive instruments and other legal texts and instruments required for the conduct of operational activities carried out by UN Women in the various Member States.
  • Provide legal advice on issues relating to the status of the organization and privileges and immunities, to ensure respect for the privileges and immunities of UN Women, its officials and experts on mission.
  • Identify and advise on areas where changes may be warranted to standard forms of contracts and agreements to strengthen UN Women’s accountability and its effectiveness and efficiency.

Provide the highest quality legal advice and support to the UN Women Executive Director and the Directors of Management and Human Resources on administrative law and human resource matters, investigative and oversight activities and accountability issues:

  • Provide legal advice on procedures governing the internal justice system and other relevant aspects of human resources management, including disciplinary matters, harassment, abuse of authority, retaliation, ethics, rights and obligations of staff, legal status of staff and dependents, financial recovery, taxation and insurance issues.
  • Identify mismanagement or non-compliance with delegation of authority, control frameworks and other administrative issuances and provide informal and/or formal advice to management and make recommendations in respect of matters arising under the UN Women Legal Framework for Ensuring Compliance with UN Standards of Conduct.
  • Provide legal advice in relation to matters arising out of UN Women’s investigative activities and oversee the provision of investigative services to UN Women, including act as focal point on issues arising out of investigations, facilitate queries, receive and analyze case reports and provide advice to management, provide input into internal and external reports on investigative activities.
  • Advise on and oversee pursuit of recovery for losses to UN Women.
  • Liaise with UN/OLA and other external entities, including Member States, with respect to investigations and proceedings relating to UN Women, including possible criminal conduct by UN Women officials, experts on mission, or other third parties, for possible referrals to the national authorities.
  • Prepare written responses and other submissions as required on behalf of the Executive Director in response to applications and other submissions filed before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT).
  • Represent the Administration before the UNDT, including but not limited to, in direction hearings and hearings on the merits. 
  • Attend to all stages of proceedings before the UNDT, including the conduct of settlement negotiations and/or mediation proceedings where required.  Liaise with UN/OLA regarding UNDT cases involving UN Women, UN/OLA’s representation of the Secretary-General before the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT), in cases involving UN Women, and other administration of justice related issues.

Provide the highest quality advice to the UN Women Executive Director and his/her senior management team on policy matters, identify and implement innovative solutions and best practices that address the priorities of UN Women and promote knowledge and awareness within UN Women in relation to legal and related issues:

  • Provide leadership and advice towards ongoing alignment and implementation of evolving programme initiatives, strategies and operational practices, from the corporate, institutional and administrative law perspective.
  • Identify and advise on areas where systemic or policy changes may be warranted to strengthen UN Women’s accountability and/or allow operational units to carry out their functions more effectively and efficiently.
  • Contribute to the review and design of new legal instruments, policy, guidelines, and systems, including:
    • assisting in the development and quality assurance of policies and procedures under the UN Women Policy, Procedure and Guidance Framework.
    • streamlining relevant legal processes with the aim of strengthening UN Women’s response capacity, particularly in contexts of crises and emergencies.
    • review and innovate the legal framework to facilitate more efficient creation of partnerships with private sector and international financial institutions.
  • Promote knowledge in UN Women of legal issues and risks and legal instruments and related policies and compliance therewith through training for staff and managers at all levels.

Lead and manage the Legal Unit in UN Women, co-ordinate UN Women’s relationships with, and represent UN Women’s interests before, external entities, networks and bodies:

  • Plan and oversee the management of the activities of the Legal Office, recruit and train staff, determine priorities, allocate resources, manage its budget, finances and administration, supervise the work of staff to ensure high-quality standards and output, provide substantive reviews of draft advice, legal submissions/motions, and other legal documents, and coordinate and deliver the diverse projects of the Office; ensure performance appraisals are implemented within deadlines.
  • Develop and maintain effective electronic management systems to enable the Legal Office to carry out its functions more effectively and efficiently.
  • Represent UN Women’s interests in the HLCM Legal Network, the UNDG Legal Group, high level inter-agency meetings, and participate in task forces and working groups, covering issues of corporate, institutional or administrative law, including the internal system of justice, as appropriate.
  • Prepare substantive input to and represent UN Women before internal and external oversight and intergovernmental bodies and entities including the Executive Board and Advisory Committee on Oversight and other policymaking and oversight bodies.
  • Coordinate with substantive offices in accordance with standing working arrangements; UN Secretariat’s Office of Legal Affairs and the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
  • Oversee security requirements for the staff of the Legal Office.

Key Performance Indicators:

The key results of the post are effective and efficient protection of the Organization’s legal interests in all areas of work; through the provision of the highest quality advice, reduction of legal exposure in programmatic, operational and human resource-related areas.

  • Quality and timely legal advice which leads to the legal protection of the organization, its personnel and assets.
  • Quality and timely legal support which contributes to the effective and efficient operation of the organization and implementation of its mandate.
  • Quality representation of the organization which protects the organization’s interests, reputation and relationships.
  • Performance of team members.


Core values:

  • Integrity;
  • Professionalism;
  • Respect for Diversity.

Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues;
  • Accountability;
  • Creative Problem Solving;
  • Effective Communication;
  • Inclusive Collaboration;
  • Stakeholder Engagement;
  • Leading by Example.

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Values and Competencies Framework: https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/About%20Us/Employment/UN-Women-values-and-competencies-framework-en.pdf

Functional Competencies:

  • Excellent theoretical knowledge of international law;
  • Strong understanding and knowledge of the UN system, including the privileges and immunities of international organizations, and international administrative law as practiced in international organizations;
  • Excellent knowledge of the constitutional, legislative and administrative basis for UN Women’s mandate and operations (UN Charter, relevant General Assembly resolutions and other relevant resolutions and decisions, UN Women Financial Regulations and Rules, UN Staff Regulations and Rules);
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure;
  • Excellent skills in drafting under pressure a broad range of documents of a legal nature, including briefing notes and reports on legal issues and submissions to courts and tribunals;
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to provide oral briefings on complex legal issues to legal and non-legal audiences;
  • Sound negotiation skills;
  • Demonstrated consciousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and personal maturity;
  • Understanding of UN Women’s goals and programmes;
  • Fully proficient computer skills and ability to use relevant software applications, in particular information databases, internet/intranet services, library sources, etc;
  • Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

  • A Master of Law is required;
  • Membership of national bar.


  • At least 10 years of practical experience in the practice of law with a law firm, a government and/or an international organization’s legal office;
  • Prior experience in the UN system is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required.
  • Working knowledge of the other UN official working language is an asset.


All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/About%20Us/Employment/UN-Women-P11-Personal-History-Form.doc. Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment.

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