Principal Legal Officer

Geneva | Geneva

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME : - To provide legal input, during the planning and implementation of the Organization's activities, so as to facilitate effective cooperation between those taking part in such activities - Member States, WHO governing bodies, WHO Director-General and Secretariat, international bodies, international officials, collaborating institutions and individuals, commercial partners and other stakeholders.- To ensure that the activities are carried out on a firm legal basis and promote the overall interests and constitutional mandate of WHO. - To protect WHO's legal interests, in particular to defend it from legal action. Description of duties: The incumbent is responsible for: 1. Identifying and proposing innovative options and solutions to resolve complex, multifactorial legal and administrative problems, often of a highly sensitive nature. In so doing, assesses and balances risks, opportunities and competing interests with the over-riding concern being the protection of WHO's interests. The solutions will often be intellectually complex, but will be communicated simply and clearly. The ultimate result will be the demonstrative advancement of WHO's strategic objectives.2. Providing legal services to the Director-General and senior managers on the protection of WHO's interest and the avoidance of legal actions which, if lost, could result in costly losses (financial/reputation), thus diminishing WHO's role as a world leader.3. Providing peer recognized legal services of the highest quality and with the highest degree of independence to the Director-General and senior managers in all WHO offices, and to key stakeholders, in the broad area of IAL (International Administrative Law Unit).4. Rigorously monitoring and assessing performance within LEG/IAL, always seeking greater efficiency and demonstrated value, and promoting an environment of professional inquisitiveness that anticipates new challenges and seeks workable solutions.5. Working with the highest degree of independence, manages and leads the LEG/IAL team and empowers robust collaborative relationships, both in-house and within the common system.6. Representing WHO and LEG at governing body meetings (e.g., World Health Assembly, Regional Committees and IARC Governing Council), inter-agency meetings, and at meetings with Member States and key stakeholders providing recognized authoritative legal advice and legal services. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS Education:In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and these will be reviewed individually.EssentialPost-graduate degree in law (or at doctoral level).DesirableSpecialization in law of the international civil service. Skills: - Excellent, peer recognized knowledge of and experience in all aspects of the law of the international civil service. This includes the jurisprudence/procedures of one or more administrative tribunals at the international level, and of the legal structures, texts and principles applicable in an international organization. - Superior communication skills, including ability to present legally authoritative and complex ideas clearly and persuasively within WHO and before the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and to Member States and partners. - Excellent skills in analyzing and organizing facts, legal and policy considerations and in presenting clear, convincing, politically and practically sensible advice, services and support. - Ability to develop, plan, coordinate, direct and manage LEG/IAL's work, with the highest degree of independence. - The experience and judgment necessary to evaluate risks/benefits/opportunities to WHO, to protect WHO's interests and avoid costly errors.- Ability to present legally sound and well-reasoned legal arguments, including submissions to appeals bodies, and skill in analyzing and organizing policy considerations and facts. - Excellent interpersonal skills. - Computer skills and ability to work with minimal clerical assistance.WHO Competencies1. Producing results2. Communicating in a credible and effective way3. Creating an empowering and motivating environment4. Driving WHO to a successful future5. Fostering integration and teamwork Experience: EssentialAt least ten years of progressive professional experience: (i) practicing law, preferably in a UN common system organization; and (ii) in the broad range of LEG/IAL areas of work at the international level, including: representing an international organization before an administrative tribunal or national court, and preparing well-written and persuasive legal analysis and advice in English on a wide-range of human resources and internal justice matters, all with minimal supervision.DesirableExperience in the preparation of well-written and persuasive legal analysis and advice in French on a wide-range of human resources and internal justice matters, with minimal supervision. Professional writing experience. Languages: Expert knowledge of English and intermediate knowledge of French are required. Additional Information: This vacancy is published in English only. WHO's salaries are calculated in US dollars. They consist of a base salary and a post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates. Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, home travel, education grant for dependent children, pension plan and medical insurance. Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WHO:, to learn more about WHO's operations, click on: Quick Links > Salary Scales > by date. Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world. Post Adjustment: 85.8 % of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation. This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level. A written test and interviews may be used as a form of screening Online applications are strongly encouraged to enable WHO to store your profile in a permanent database. Please visit WHO's e-Recruitment website at: The system provides instructions for online application procedures. All applicants are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement. WHO is committed to workforce diversity. Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted. Currently accepting applications
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva | Geneva
  • Grade: P-6, International Professional
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Legal - Broad
    • Legal - Broad
    • Legal - Broad
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2016-02-26

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