Legal Officer

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Paris, France

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: Media and Communication

Within the general mandate of the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs to provide legal advice to the Secretariat and the Governing Bodies and the Secretariat of the Organization, under the overall authority and direct supervision of the Legal Adviser and Director of the Office, the incumbent will be required to carry out the following duties and responsibilities

Provide legal opinions, through research and examination of legal precedents, on complex issues relating to the mandate, structure and activities of the Organization. Such issues may bear upon general matters of law or specialized aspects of public international, constitutional, private and administrative law, and may require interpretation of UNESCO’s basic texts and standard-setting instruments. Legal opinions are embodied in memoranda to the Director-General or other high-level officials of the Secretariat, diplomatic correspondence to Governments or other stakeholders, official documents submitted to intergovernmental bodies, analytical studies internal to the Office, etc.

Support the Legal Adviser and Director of the Office in the provision of independent legal advice to the General Conference, the Executive Board and various meetings convened by UNESCO and to all intergovernmental bodies established by the Organization, as well as to the Director-General, Sectors and field offices of the Secretariat, on a wide variety of topics arising in the activities of the Organization, including on the interpretation of the Constitution and statutory texts, privileges and immunities, the conclusion and application of international agreements and contracts, the implementation of standard-setting instruments, etc.

  • Prepare and revise official documents to be submitted to intergovernmental bodies, diplomatic correspondence, internal memoranda, studies and other documentation relating to the work of the Office.
  • Assist the Legal Adviser and Director in all matters pertaining to the administration of the Office (including, budget, human resources, financial management, working methods, etc.).
  • Supervise the work of junior legal staff in the Office of the Director.
  • Perform any other duties as may be required to ensure the success and functioning of the Office’s activities.

Required Qualifications:


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international law or a related field.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience providing advice in public international law within an intergovernmental organization (or in such organization combined with equivalent legal experience in a government, law firm, non-profit organization or academia), of which at least 3 years acquired at the international level.

Skills & Competencies:

  • Demonstrated analytical skills, particularly in legal matters.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in either English or French and very good skills in the other language.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively and work well under pressure.
  • Ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations and to build and maintain partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, including high-level officers and government officials.
  • Ability to maintain effective working relationships in a multicultural environment.
  • Interpersonal skills (including diplomatic skills), team spirit and positive working relationships.


  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English or French and very good knowledge of the other.