The Legal Office is an in-house legal advice provider, supporting both UN Geneva and UN funds and programmes based in Geneva. It often works closely with the Office of Legal Affairs at UN Headquarters to deal with requests for waiver of immunity or to adopt a position on matters of system-wide interest. The Legal Office also maintains close contact with the Swiss authorities on issues concerning the status of the United Nations and its staff in Geneva.
Additionally, the Legal Office provides administrative support to and manages the budget of the International Law Commission (ILC), which was established by the General Assembly in 1947 to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification” (article 13 (1) of the Charter of the United Nations).
The Legal Office also organizes the International Law Seminar (ILS) which is convened on an annual basis within the framework of the ILC. The three-week programme offers up to 30 young lawyers from different cultures and legal systems the opportunity to increase their understanding of international law and exchange views on items of the Commission’s agenda.