United Nations Office of Legal Affairs provides a unified central legal service for the Secretariat and the principal and other organs of the United Nations and contribute to the progressive development and codification of international public and trade law.
The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) of the United Nations was established in 1946 (UNGA res. 13(I) of 13 February 1946). Originally, it was organized as a department; but in 1954 it was reorganized into an office to reflect more closely its role in providing legal advice to the Secretary-General and acting on his behalf in legal matters (see Yearbook of the United Nations 1954, pages 438 and 568-570).
In 1946, the Legal Department was headed by an Assistant Secretary-General and consisted of the Office of this official, the Division of General Legal Problems, the Division for the Development and Codification of International Law, the Division of Immunities and Registration of Treaties (see Yearbook of the United Nations 1946-1947, page 630).
In 1967, the International Trade Law Branch was established, and in 1992, the Office for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea was integrated into OLA.
- 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.
Where is United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA)