Senior Legal Officer (International Law)







UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. For its international team, UNRWA is seeking to employ a qualified:


Senior Legal Officer (International Law)


Vacancy Announcement Number




Deadline for Applications

5 October 2016

(21 September 2016 for internal applicants)

Duty Station



UNRWA encourages applications from qualified women and welcomes applications from qualified candidates with disabilities.



Under the overall supervision of the Director of Legal Affairs and Principal Legal Officer (International Law), the Senior Legal Officer (International Law) focuses on the development of strategies, and provision of advice and training, to promote and implement international law including UN privileges and immunities and related responsibilities, as well as international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law. The incumbent advises and takes action as appropriate on issues relating to the Agency’s status, mandate and operations in its five fields of operation. In accordance with the established Agency policy and procedures, the incumbent will:


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

·        In close coordination with the Principal Legal Officer (International Law), develop strategies to promote and implement, and provide advice and training on relevant public international law, including international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law and UN law, particularly: the status and mandate of the Agency, privileges and immunities and related responsibilities of the Agency and its personnel, and humanitarian principles;

·        Provide legal input into the development and implementation of Agency strategy and policy, in particular relating to Agency protection strategy and interventions;

·        Maintain relations with representatives of host and other governments, the UN Office of Legal Affairs, UNHCR, OHCHR, OCHA, UNSCO and other entities with respect to issues of legal concern;

·        Provide legal input into and draft formal UN documents relating to UNRWA and Palestine refugees, in particular the Commissioner-General’s annual report to the General Assembly;

·        Draft or review drafts of all types of Agency contractual modalities, including contracts for procurement of goods and/or services, memoranda of understanding with partners and funding agreements:

·        Provide legal advice and assistance on matters relating to administrative and employment law issues, in particular by drafting Agency submissions to the UNRWA Dispute Tribunal and/or the UN Appeals Tribunal;

·        Advise on the interpretation and application of the Agency’s regulatory framework, in particular General Assembly resolutions, UNRWA Staff and Financial Regulations, Rules and associated administrative issuances, and organizational directives.


Professional Knowledge and Experience

·        Advanced university degree from an accredited educational institution in law with specialisation in international law, preferably also with some specialization in contract law, commercial law, administrative law or employment law.;

·        At least eight years' experience as a lawyer in the United Nations, other international organization, in government service, the commercial/private sector or NGO, including a period of experience in public international law;

·        Excellent command of spoken and written English.



·        Ability to negotiate effectively;

·        Ability to effectively compile and synthesize information;

·        Proven ability in the analysis of facts/information, the development of rigorous arguments and replies and the provision of sound advice;

·        Good English drafting skills;

·        Ability to progress with work independently and to participate as a member of a small team;

·        Ability to communicate effectively with a range of internal and external contacts;

·        Ability to develop and implement strategies and policies.



When the minimum requirements are not fully met, the Human Resources Department may substitute part of the unmet requirements under UNRWA’s equivalency determination guidelines with a combination of relevant academic qualification, additional professional training and/or progressive relevant work experience. Note: Work experience alone or formal qualifications with no relevant work experience are not considered sufficient for an equivalency determination.


Desirable Qualifications

·        Admission to practice law in a recognized jurisdiction;

·        Familiarity with the UN Common System and practices;

·        Working knowledge of Arabic;

·        Knowledge of the history and contemporary problems of the Middle East.


Additional Information

The incumbent should be able to travel in the Agency's area of operations in the     Middle East.


Conditions of Service 

UNRWA offers an attractive compensation package including annual salary starting at $74,130 net tax free with dependants or $69,032 single, plus post adjustment of 52.9% (subject to change without notice). Other benefits, subject to eligibility, include education grant, dependency allowance, home leave, pension fund, health insurance and 6 weeks of annual leave. All UNRWA duty stations (with the exception of Gaza and Syria) are family duty stations. Initial contract is for two years, with the possibility of further extensions subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance and the continuing need for the post.


How to Apply

To start the application process, applicants are required to register at by creating a personal profile and completing UNRWA Personal History Form. Please note that UNRWA only accepts degrees from accredited educational institutions. Only applications received through will be considered. Due to the large number of applications received for UNRWA vacancies, only short-listed applicants will be contacted.


The United Nations does not charge fees at any stage of the recruitment process (application, testing, interviewing, etc). The United Nations does not concern itself with information related to bank accounts.


General Information


UNRWA is a United Nations organization whose staff are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity, neutrality and impartiality. This includes respect for and commitment to human rights, diversity, and non-violent means of dealing with all kinds of conflict. UNRWA staff are expected to uphold these values at all times, both at work and outside. Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for UNRWA jobs. UNRWA is a non-smoking work environment.


The statutory retirement age for staff entering or re-entering service in the UN Common System after 1 January 1990 is 62 and 65 after 1 January 2014. For external applicants, only those who are expected to complete a term of appointment will normally be considered.


The Agency reserves the right not to make an appointment, to make an appointment at a lower grade, or to make an appointment with a modified job description.


On appointment, all individuals will be asked to sign a self attestation, confirming that they have not committed, been convicted of, or prosecuted for, any criminal offence and that they have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.


Date of issue: 8 September 2016/CF







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: UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
  • Location: Jerusalem
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - International Law
    • Legal - International Law
  • Closing Date: 2016-10-05

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