Org. Setting and Reporting
This position is located in the United Nations (UN) Ethics Office, an independent office, which assists the Secretary-General in ensuring that all staff members observe and perform their functions consistent with the highest standards of integrity, required by the Charter of the United Nations, through fostering a culture of ethics, transparency and accountability. The Legal Officer will report to the Senior Ethics Officer, who leads the Team on Protection-against-Retaliation and other matters, and to the Director.Responsibilities
Within delegated authority, the Legal Officer will be responsible for the following:
1. Protection against Retaliation (PaR)
• Serves as a lead officer in conducting procedural reviews of appeal cases, preliminary reviews of PaR requests and drafts prima facie case findings; advises clients of the UN PaR policy and internal grievance mechanisms; independently handles a wide range of multi-discipline and complex PaR legal matters, involving issues of public, private, and administrative law, to include interpretation and application of instruments in that area of concentration (both substantive and procedural).
• Advises and engages with UN internal justice system bodies including the tribunals, on retaliation cases, participates in negotiations and settlement of claims, to include establishing strategy and approach; deciding on the recommendations on the merit of claims and in connection with the reviewability of administrative decisions taken upon a recommendation of the Ethics Office.
• Reviews retaliation investigations to determine if retaliation occurred as alleged, applying the legal standard of “clear and convincing evidence” required by the PaR policy; advises on and drafts complex agreements and other legal documents; develops new modalities to meet unique needs/circumstances.
• Performs extensive legal research and analysis and prepares determinations, briefs, and correspondence, in particular to remediate situations where retaliation has occurred, and effectuate the consultation/resolution process; provides legal advice to the unit/division.
• As needed, services conferences, task forces, expert groups and other bodies, and, in particular as it relates to reviews of PaR determinations; participates in the preparation of background materials, and summaries of issues and reviews.
• Employs creative solutions to prevent retaliation and reduce instances of formal complaints.
2. Provision of legal and ethics advice
• Provides timely and confidential legal advice and guidance on diverse and substantive questions of considerable complexity, including monitoring trends and conducting analysis into root causes of legal dilemmas for staff.
• Conducts extensive complex, organizational, managerial and legal research and analysis.
• Provides legal advice on the interpretation and application of staff regulations and rules, including the review of administrative decisions.
• Participates in negotiations and discussions in advising on legal terms and conditions of the recommendations of the Director in PaR cases where retaliation is established.
• Consults and liaises with the Administrative Law Section (ALS) in the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), among others, to update and interpret legislative and governance framework of the Ethics Office.
• Provides assistance in developing coherence within the UN system, taking as applicable, the leading role in working towards common frameworks and policies within the UN ethics and legal communities and networks with regard to whistleblower protections and PaR policy development.
• Performs other tasks as directed by the First and/or Second Reporting Officer.
3. Coherence, training and outreach
• Contributes to review and design of applications of, legal instruments, policy, guidelines, outreach materials, etc., especially in relation to the PaR programme.
• As required, serves on boards, committees, ad hoc working groups and task forces; promotes the work of the UN Ethics Office and represents the Office at meetings, conferences, seminars, to help ensure engagement with all stakeholders.
• Coordinates with colleagues inside and outside of own team in dealing with significant problems as required, and/or mentors and supervises the work of junior officers on specific projects as required.
• Professionalism: Knowledge of international or administrative law, both substantive and procedural. Ability to apply legal expertise to analyzing a diverse range of complex and unusual legal issues and problems, particularly in the application of the PaR policy to the specific facts of a claimant’s case, and in developing innovative solutions in analyzing complex cases. 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 briefs, opinions, and related documents. 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 to tight deadlines and handle multiple concurrent projects/cases. 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.
• Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to clients.
• 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.
Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in international or administrative law, or related area. 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 experience in organizational ethics, law, including legal analysis, research and writing, or related area is required. Experience in implementing whistle-blower protection in an international organization is desirable.Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another official UN language is desirable.Assessment
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.Special Notice
Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.
An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. All staff of the Ethics Office are required to submit a financial disclosure statement upon appointment and annually thereafter.
The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.
United Nations Considerations
According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.
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