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United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs
Activities of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations

UN Legal Counsel visits Yale Law School

04 February 2020

New Haven, Connecticut

On Tuesday 4 February 2020, Yale Law School organized a conversation between United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Miguel Serpa Soares, and Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law. This event was an opportunity for the United Nations Legal Counsel to provide an overview of his career and professional life, as well to discuss contemporary challenges to the multilateral system and to the international community.

Yale Law students showed great interest in knowing what it takes to become the Legal Counsel of the United Nations and what the main challenges faced by Mr. Serpa Soares in his daily professional life are. Students also asked about the differences of being the UN Legal Counsel and being a Legal Adviser of a National Government and which cases did he liked the most to deal with, and which less so.

The UN Legal Counsel addressed several pressing issues such as the recent Coronavirus issue and compared it with the Ebola outbreak in 2014, which led to the establishment of the first ever UN Health Mission. He also covered the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction explaining that the conference will hopefully lead to a new international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea. This is only possible with the cooperation of every Member State in a true effort of multilateral diplomacy.

The conversation was followed by a luncheon with the students.

The UN Legal Counsel at Yale Law School

The UN Legal Counsel at Yale Law School