Chief of Service, Legal Affairs

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Job Opening

Posting Title: Chief of Service, Legal Affairs, D1
Job Code Title: Chief of Service, Legal Affairs
Department/Office: United Nations Mission in Kosovo
Duty Station: PRISTINA_ISC
Posting Period: 25 June 2020 - 24 July 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-Legal Affairs-UNMIK-137579-R-Pristina (M)
Staffing Exercise N/A

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is in the Office of Legal Affairs, Office of the SRSG, under the direction of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

The incumbent: provides high-level in-house legal counsel capacity, to include timely and authoritative advice, services and representation in respect of all aspects of the Mission's mandate and activities, including highly complex or novel legal matters; effectively determines strategy and approach to legal issues and develops innovative solutions to major problems/issues that arise; contributes to the development of policy, directives, guidelines and best practices; demonstrates professional leadership and a high degree of persuasiveness and diplomacy to generate consensus with relevant parties on divisive legal issues; oversees the management of the Service and coordinates delivery of the work to the different areas within the Mission, with other offices and entities of the United Nations system and outside actors, as appropriate.


Leads, supervises and implements the work programme of UNMIK's Office of Legal Affairs and provides high level legal expertise and advice on all aspects of the United Nations Mission's mandate and activities, including public international, private and administrative law matters, as well as issues of constitutional and other national law, as they affect the Mission or the mandate.
In particular, provides high level legal advice and expertise on the interpretation of the Mission's mandate anticipating challenges, the legal status of the Mission and its members, including in areas such as privileges and immunities.
Advises on all aspects of the Mission's operational activities, including matters relating to international law, including international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the protection of civilians, as appropriate; advises on administrative, personnel and contractual matters related to the Mission's activities, including issues relating to the accountability of personnel, procurement matters, third party claims, as well as legal questions involving the interpretation or application of UN regulations and rules;
Establishes, liaises and maintains good working relations with government officials (ministries, authorities and agencies) and other entities on legal matters related to the implementation of the Mission's mandate, including the implementation of agreements and other arrangements with the host, or with other governments; provides high level programmatic/substantive legal expertise at international, regional or national meetings and discussions with governments and other institutions and entities; liaises with other UN agencies, funds and programmes, as well as regional and sub-regional actors and organizations, and with the diplomatic community, as appropriate, and consults with UN Headquarters, as required;
Undertakes or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Service, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance and evaluation of candidates for recruitment; manages, guides, develops, trains and mentors staff under his/her supervision and fosters teamwork and communication among staffing the Branch/Service/Division and across organizational boundaries.
Supervises, oversees and advises on the review, negotiation and drafting of agreements, institutional and operational modalities, major contracts, legal submissions, and other legal documents and provides advice on and participates in negotiations leveraging mission goals and mandates. S/he also ensures and oversees the effective participation of the Branch/Service/Division in administrative Boards and Committees, including in relation to the procurement process, claims and property management, and on ad hoc working groups and task forces and advises on the Mission's input to the UN Secretary-General's reports to the Security Council, as well as briefings to the Security Council and other such documents, as they pertain to legal matters;
Performs other duties as required.


• Professionalism –Knowledge of and extensive experience in the practical application of international law, including commercial matters and/or the law of international organizations as practiced in the context of peacekeeping and other operations in the field. Ability to apply expertise to analyzing a diverse range of complex and unusual issues and problems and in developing innovative and creative solutions; Analytical skills and ability to conduct comprehensive research on a range of issues, including those of a unique and/or complex nature; Discretion and sound judgment in applying expertise to sensitive, complex issues, including legal and procedural questions; Knowledge of contemporary international relations and of the UN system; Ability to draft quickly, to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful and to review the work of others. Ability to communicate complex concepts orally, to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of intergovernmental bodies. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations.
• Planning and Organising – Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments, adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
• Accountability – Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organisational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
• Leadership – Serves as a role model that other people want to follow; empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvement; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.
• Judgement/Decision-making – Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent degree) in law or related area is required. A first-level degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) in the specified fields with two additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible professional experience, including experience in supervisory positions and in the field of public international law is required.
Experience in providing legal services to an international organization is required.
Extensive experience and a thorough understanding of the United Nations system is desirable.
Experience in management and supervision of staff in a multicultural institution is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the Secretariat. For this position, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures. The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

Apply online.

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