Legal Officer, P3

UNECE - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Geneva, Switzerland

Org. Setting and Reporting

This post is located in the secretariat of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), located in the Environment for Europe and Sustainable Development Section of the Environment Division of the Economic Commission for Europe, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The incumbent will report to the P4, Secretary of the Convention's Compliance Committee. The Aarhus Convention was adopted on 25 June 1998, and entered into force on 30 October 2001. The Convention grants the public rights, and imposes obligations on Parties, regarding access to information and public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. The Convention also requires that persons exercising their rights under the Convention are not penalized, persecuted or harassed for doing so. The Convention has one Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs), which was adopted on 21 May 2003, and entered into force on 8 October 2009. The Protocol's objective is to enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers. The broad aim of UNECE's environment activities is to safeguard the environment and human health, and to promote sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda.


Within delegated authority, the Legal Officer is responsible for the following duties:

  • Provides expert legal support to the Aarhus Convention’s rapid response mechanism to protect environmental defenders and other mechanisms and bodies under the Convention;
  • Handles a range of issues related to constitutional, international, public, private, administrative, environmental and human rights law in consultation with the P4;
  • Conducts extensive legal research and analysis and prepare studies, comparative studies, briefs, reports and correspondence;
  • Undertakes basic or extensive review of legal documents, instruments, or other material; identifies important issues, similarities, and inconsistencies, etc.;
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of drafts of background papers, studies, reports, legislative texts and commentaries on those texts, correspondence, teaching materials in the field of international environmental and human rights law, etc.;
  • Services or assists senior colleagues in servicing committees, task forces, expert groups and other bodies, including preparation of background materials, summaries of issues and views of delegations, meeting reports, etc.;
  • Provides guidance to more junior staff;
  • Responds to enquiries, participates in events, updates relevant webpages;
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of, and ability to apply, legal principles, concepts and procedures and terminology for review, examination, and processing of a range of legal documents. Knowledge of various legal research sources, including electronic, and ability to conduct research and analyze information on a wide range of legal issues. Knowledge of international environmental and human rights law, the civil law and/or common law legal systems and principles. Ability to interpret and apply legislative instruments, develop and present results, recommendations, and opinions clearly and concisely. Ability to draft legal papers and work under pressure. Ability to apply good legal judgment in the context of assignments given. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed;
  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law is required. A first-level university degree in the specified field of study in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Job - Specific Qualification

  • A specialization in environmental or human rights law is desirable.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing is required;
  • A minimum of two years’ legal experience working on cases in domestic or international courts, tribunals or monitoring bodies is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat, and Russian is an official language of ECE. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required; knowledge of French or Russian is desirable.

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