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United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs

Office of Legal Affairs
Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations: Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares


  • To provide a unified central legal service for the Secretariat and the principal and other organs of the United Nations
  • To contribute to the progressive development and codification of international public and trade law
  • To promote the strengthening and development as well as the effective implementation of the international legal order for the seas and oceans
  • To register and publish treaties, and to perform the depositary functions of the Secretary-General.

  • The Office of Legal Affairs seeks to achieve this:

  • Through the provision of legal services on questions of international and national, public, private, procedural and administrative law
  • By providing substantive secretariat functions to United Nations bodies
  • By contributing to the understanding, acceptance and consistent application of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related implementing Agreements
  • Through the expeditious processing and publication of treaty-related actions and treaties registered and deposited, and by providing assistance to Member States in matters related to treaty law.