The Legal Liaison Office
As an integral part of the Office of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Legal Liaison Office provides advice on all legal matters arising within UNOG and the offices of United Nations funds and programmes in Geneva, in close cooperation with the Office of Legal Affairs at Headquarters.
The core functions of the Legal Liaison Office are as follows:
Providing advice to the Director-General of UNOG
The Senior Legal Adviser:
- provides advice to the Director-General of UNOG, in his capacity as the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General at Geneva and Chief Executive of UNOG, on legal questions concerning his activities, contacts and statements,
- represents the Director-General in various meetings of a legal nature.
The Legal Liaison Office also provides advice to, and cooperates with, all other services of the Office of the Director-General (i.e. the Chef de Cabinet, the Political Affairs and Partnerships Section, the NGO Liaison Unit and the Protocol and Liaison Service).
Dealing with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland on host country matters
The Legal Liaison Office (LLO):
- assumes central responsibility in dealing with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland on all issues concerning the status of the United Nations and its staff in Geneva,
- in close consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs in New York, LLO deals with all requests emanating from the Swiss authorities for the waiver of immunity of the Organization and of UNOG staff members,
- represents the United Nations in court cases and external litigation.
The Senior Legal Adviser prepares and carries out written and oral requests concerning the interpretation and implementation of the Host Country Agreement
, with emphasis on privileges and immunities, residence permits (cartes de légitimation, visas
), tax questions and status determination issues.
Answering legal questions from UNOG's Division of Administration, various departments and services, and Geneva offices of United Nations funds and programmes
LLO provides day-to-day legal advice to UNOG's Division of Administration, including the Human Resources Management Service, the Finance Resources Management Service, the Safety and Security Section, the Division of Conference Management, the Conference on Disarmament, the Procurement and Contracts Unit, the Public Information Section, etc.
LLO also provides advice to:
- the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE),
- the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),
- the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
- the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR),
- the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR),
- the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
on, inter alia, the conclusion of bilateral agreements covering meetings, seminars and other events away from Geneva, and procedural aspects of their respective governing bodies.
Coordinating with the Legal Advisers of the Geneva-based international organizations
On an ad hoc basis, the Senior Legal Adviser coordinates with the Legal Advisers of Geneva-based international organizations on matters of common interest under the respective headquarters agreements.
Participating in various panels and commissions
As an ex officio member in various panels and commissions, the Senior Legal Adviser participates in the sessions of:
Liaison with the Office of Legal Affairs in New York
- The Contracts Committee
- The Property Survey Board
- The Local Claims Board
- UNOG, UNECE and UNISDR Grants Committees
LLO works in close cooperation with the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) at Headquarters on legal matters requiring specialized advice and/or a position from the Legal Counsel of the United Nations or the Secretary-General’s approval. These include, inter alia:
Organizing and conducting the International Law Seminar
- requests for waiver of immunity,
- treaty actions,
- OLA position on matters of system-wide interest.
ILS is convened on an annual basis within the framework of the International Law Commission. As Director of the International Law Seminar (ILS), the Senior Legal Adviser is responsible for fund-raising, selecting participants, organizing the three-week programme and daily follow-up of the activities of participants. This also includes budget management of the ILS Trust Fund and related certifying officer responsibilities. This Trust Fund should provide 17/18 fellowships to the participants in the Seminar through voluntary contributions from Governments.
Providing administrative support to the International Law Commission
LLO manages the budget of the International Law Commission and provides day-to-day logistical assistance to the members and the secretariat of the ILC, with regard to travel, daily subsistence allowance, insurance matters, etc.