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5 Dec 2020

Legal Officer

Job Description

This position is located in the Office of the Chief of Staff (Civilian) in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). The incumbent will report directly to the Chief of Staff.


Within delegated authority, the Legal Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Provides legal advice on a wide range of legal issues affecting the United Nations Mission’s mandate and activities, including public international, private and administrative law matters, as well as issues of constitutional and other national law as they affect the Mission or the mandate.
  • In particular, provides legal advice and expertise on the interpretation of the Mission’s mandate, the legal status of the Mission and its members, including all areas such as privileges and immunities and Status of Forces/Status of Mission Agreements; advises on aspects of the Mission’s operational activities, including the Mission’s rules of engagement and directives on the use of force and related guidelines, matters related to international law, including international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the protection of civilians, as appropriate.
  • Advises on administrative, personnel and contractual matters, including issues related to the accountability of personnel, procurement matters, third party claims, as well as legal questions involving the interpretation or application of UN regulations and rules.
  • Advises on drafts and reviews agreements, institutional and operational modalities, major contracts, legal submissions and other legal documents and provides advice on and participates in negotiations for the settlement of claims and disputes.
  • Liaises and participates in meetings and discussions with governments and other institutions and entitles, and with other UN agencies, funds and programmes, as well as other internal ad external actors and organizations as required.
  • Participates in administrative Boards and Committees, including in relation to the procurement process, claims and property management, and on ad hoc working groups and task forces, as assigned by the Chief of Staff.
  • Supervising and providing guidance to more junior legal officers
  • Performs extensive legal research and analysis on highly complex or novel legal issues/questions and prepares legal opinions, briefs, reports, and correspondence; represents the Mission/Chief of Staff at meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.
  • Performs other duties, as assigned.


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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) 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 seven years of progressively responsible professional legal experience, including legal analysis, research and writing.
Prior 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


This is a Recruit from Roster job opening therefore, previously rostered candidates are not subject to any further assessment and as such, will not be invited for such an assessment.

Special Notice

This “Recruit from Roster” job opening is only open to roster applicants who are already placed on pre-approved rosters, following a review by a United Nations Central Review Body. Only roster applicants who were placed on rosters with similar functions at the same level are considered to be eligible candidates.

Deadline: 16 December 2020

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