United Nations Legal Officer Jobs in Kenya

United Nations Legal Officer Jobs in Kenya

Org. Setting and Reporting

  • The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, (hereinafter referred to as “UN-Habitat”), established by the General Assembly of the United Nations by its resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977, transformed into a Programme by General Assembly resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001, and having its Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • UN-Habitat is the coordinating agency within the United Nations System for human settlement activities and in collaboration with governments is responsible for promoting and consolidating collaboration with all partners, including local authorities, private and non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, Goal 11 of “Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, as well as the task manager of the human settlements chapter of Agenda 21 and focal point for the monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the New Urban Agenda adopted during the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), in Ecuador, Quito, 2016.

  • The position is located in the Legal Unit within the Office of the Executive Director of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • The Office of the Executive Director is responsible for the formulation of a clear and consistent vision for UN-Habitat, as well as the policies necessary to effectuate that vision; establishing operational priorities and strategies, in consultation with senior management of the programme; ensuring effective management and accountability of the programme and budget; and engaging with key Member States and other stakeholders to secure both political and financial support for UN-Habitat.

  • The Legal Unit is responsible for ensuring that UN-Habitat’s activities are carried out in accordance with applicable regulatory frameworks and relevant law of the United Nations by providing legal advice and assistance, undertaking due diligence and quality assurance on a range of issues pertaining to the activities of UN-Habitat to reduce the exposure of legal claims, disputes and liabilities to UN-Habitat, internally and externally as well as representing UN-Habitat’s rights, positions and interests in contractual or litigation matters before the various internal administrative tribunals..

  • The Legal Officer will report to the Head of the Legal Unit.


    Within delegated authority and depending on location, the Legal Officer may be responsible for the following duties:

    • Handles a range of issues related to constitutional, international, public, private, administrative, and, for Tribunals, criminal (substantive, procedural and comparative) law, including the interpretation and application of constitutive, legislative and other instruments governing United Nations activities and operations, in consultation with senior Legal Officers or Prosecuting Trial Attorneys.

    • 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, teaching materials in the field of international trade law and private international law, etc.

    • Prepares or assists in the preparation of legal opinions/advice on a wide range of international public or private law issues, including the United Nations Charter, General Assembly resolutions and decisions involving, inter alia, issues relating to privileges and immunities, peace and security, criminal prosecutions, institutional questions, treaty law and practice, procedural issues arising during meetings of United Nations organs, constitutional and administrative law of the Organization.

    • Prepares or assists in the preparation of agreements and contracts with governments, NGOs and other public and private entities, as well as in the negotiation and settlement of claims and disputes and in handling private international law and international trade law

    • Reviews, advises on and drafts indictments or legal motions/submissions.

    • Assesses evidence for relevance and admissibility.

    • Prepares and assesses briefs of evidence.

    • Services or assists senior colleagues in servicing diplomatic conferences, commissions, committees, task forces, expert groups and other bodies, including preparation of background materials, summaries of issues and views of delegations, meeting reports, etc.

    • Assists in representing the Organization before arbitral and other tribunals or administrative proceedings, including disciplinary cases; in Tribunals, acts on behalf of the Prosecutor as junior co-counsel in proceedings before Trial or Appeal Chambers.

    • Provides legal advice on human resources matters; reviews administrative matters.

    • Administers programmes of legal technical assistance.

    • Prepares or assists with the preparation of international trade law seminars and symposia, lecture on various legal issues at such events.

    • Provides guidance to more junior staff.

    • 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 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.

  • 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 international law is required. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

    Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing is required.

  • Experience working in a legal/judicial environment in an international organization is desirable.

  • Experience in the development and review of legal instruments is desirable.

  • Experience in drafting legal opinions and providing advice to superiors is desirable.

  • Experience in preparing written legal submissions for a court or tribunal is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, Fluency in one of the working languages of the UN Secretariat, English or French, (both oral and written) is required; knowledge of the other is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is desirable.

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; United Nations Legal Officer Jobs in Kenya

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