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3 Dec 2020

Legal Officer

Job Description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is in Legal Affairs Unit (LAU) of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Juba classified in the “E” category and as a non-family duty station. Legal Officer reports to Senior Legal Officer.


Under the overall supervision and within the limits of the delegated authority of the Senior Legal Officer, the Legal Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Manage and supervise assistant legal officers and support staff of the legal affairs unit and coordinate their activities;
  • Provide legal advice and opinions on a wide range of legal issues affecting the UNMISS mandate and activities, including international public, private and administrative law matters, as well as issues of the interpretation and application of constitutional and national law and legislative and other instruments governing the United Nations as they affect the Mission or the mandate;
  • Provide legal advice, opinion and expertise seeking the Senior Legal Officer’s guidance on complex legal issues on the interpretation of the Mission’s mandate, legal status of the Mission and its members, their privileges and immunities and the UNMISS Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA);
  • Provide legal advice on all aspects of UNMISS operational activities, rules of engagement, directives on the use of force and related guidelines, matters relating to international law, including international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the protection of civilians, and internally displaced persons as appropriate;
  • Provide legal advice on administrative, personnel and contractual matters, procurement matters, third party claims, and legal questions involving the interpretation or application of United Nations regulations and rules;
  • Provide legal advice on drafts and review agreements, institutional and operational modalities, contracts, legal submissions and other legal documents and participate in negotiations for the settlement of claims and disputes;
  • Liaise and participate in meetings and discussions with governments and other institutions and entities; other United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as other internal and external actors and organizations, as required;
  • Participate in administrative Boards and Committees, including the procurement process, claims and property management, and in ad hoc working groups and task forces, as assigned by the Senior Legal Officer;
  • Perform extensive legal research and analysis on highly complex or novel legal issues/questions and prepare legal opinions, studies, briefs, reports, and correspondence; represent the Unit/Mission at meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.;
  • Perform other duties, as assigned by the Senior Legal Officer, Chief of Staff or Mission Management.


Knowledge of and ability to apply legal principles, concepts and procedures and terminology for review, examination, and processing of a range of legal documents. Knowledge of various legal research sources, including electronic, and ability to conduct research and analyze information on a wide range of legal issues. Knowledge of substantial and procedural international administrative law. Ability to interpret and apply legislative instruments, develop and present results, recommendations, and opinions clearly and concisely. Ability to draft legal papers, process and documents. Show pride in work and in achievements; demonstrate professional competence and mastery of subject matter; be conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; be motivated by professional not personal concerns; show persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remain calm in stressful situations. Take responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Speak and write clearly and effectively. Listen to others. Correctly interpret messages from others and respond appropriately. Ask questions to clarify and exhibit interest in having two-way communication. Tailor language, tone, style and format to suit and match the audience. Demonstrate openness in sharing information and keeping colleagues and people informed.

Work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals. Solicit input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; be willing to learn from others. Place team agenda before and above personal agenda. Support and act in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Share credit for team accomplishments and accept joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Identify key issues in a complex situation and come to the heart of the problem quickly. Gather relevant information before decision making. Consider positive and negative impacts prior to decision making. Take decisions cognizant of the impact on others and the Organization. Propose a course of action or make recommendations based on every available information. Check and validate assumptions against available facts. Determine that proposed actions satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision. Make tough decisions when necessary. Exercise sound judgement in difficult situations.


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

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible legal experience working as a lawyer in government, international organizations or in private practice is required.
  • Professional experience in the application, analysis, research and writing in public international and administrative law is required.
  • Experience with Mission-State relations, particularly with post conflict transitional governments; privileges and immunities; laws relating to the international civil servants; contract negotiation and interpretation; procurement; boards of inquiry is desirable.
  • Legal experience with a United Nations entity is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in oral and written English is required


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Extension of the appointment is subject to Extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

Deadline: 30 December 2020

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