Legal Officer


Post Number : LA 023

Grade : P-4

Parent Sector : Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs (LA)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Law

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 29-APR-2024


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism




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.

Long Description

  • 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.


COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)
Building partnerships (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
Managing performance (M)
Strategic thinking (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • 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. 





Work Experience

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the law of international organizations, particularly of the UN system.
  • Experience in the legal department of an intergovernmental organization.
  • Experience working in a diplomatic environment.
  • Experience working with intergovernmental bodies.
  • Experience providing legal advice to high-level officials.
  • Confirmed experience in legal drafting in English and French.


Skills & Competencies

  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of the UN system.
  • Knowledge of the UN common system’s regulatory framework.



  • Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish).



UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 126 118 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.