Job Description

Org. Setting and Reporting

UNRWA, the largest United Nations operation in the Middle East with over 30,000 staff working across five areas of operation, is looking for highly committed personnel wishing to make a change.

If you are looking for a rewarding opportunity to make a tangible difference for one of the most vulnerable communities in the world, UNRWA would like to hear from you.

The Head Field Legal Office reports to the Director of UNRWA Affairs or Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs (Operations) as applicable.


Leads the programme of work and management of the human and Financial Resources of the Field Legal Office and provides legal and technical advice and mentoring for the Field Legal Office’s lawyers in Coordination with and under the technical oversight of, as appropriate, the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA); Advises on and ensures the consistent interpretation and application of the Agency’s regulatory framework and international law, in particular UNRWA Area and International Staff Regulations, Rules and associated administrative issuances, Financial Regulations and Organizational Directives.

Provides legally sound, timely, easily applied, politically sensitive and consistent advice on matters related to UNRWA’s operations including, but not limited to, the delivery of Agency's services and, in coordination with the Department of Legal Affairs, the protection of the rights, privileges and immunities of the Agency and its staff in the Field.

Drafts, reviews, and as appropriate, supervises and oversees the negotiation of all types of field-related contractual modalities, including contracts for procurement of goods and/or services, the construction and maintenance of buildings, use of land, lease agreements, memoranda of understanding, legal submissions and other legal documents related to the Field operation.

Provides legal advice and assistance on matters relating to administrative and employment law and other relevant issues including advising the application of the Agency’s regulatory framework relating to administrative and disciplinary measures and entitlements.

In coordination with the DLA as appropriate, provides legal advice and assistance on the interpretation and application of relevant public international law, International Human Rights, humanitarian and refugee law and practice, particularly as it relates to protection of and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestine refugees in the Field having particular regard to humanitarian principles; advises on, promotes and addresses the status and mandate of the Agency, the privileges and immunities attached to the Agency, its assets and its personnel as well as related responsibilities of the Agency and its personnel.

Liaises, in coordination with Field and HR colleagues, as appropriate, with relevant external actors such as the local governmental authorities to safeguard and facilitate the Field's operations, including following up on the implementation of the Field's requests to the relevant authorities and drawing the attention of senior Agency officials to potential problems or disputes with the relevant authorities.

Advises on resolution of contractual and tortious claims against the Agency and its staff members in their official capacity, including overseeing, supporting and/or conducting negotiations, settlements and arbitration (in coordination with DLA).

Seeks access to and information about Agency staff in detention; interviews staff during or after their release from detention, and if applicable advises upon applications for reinstatement and reemployment in coordination with DLA.

Provides advice and support to, and as requested, participates in investigations into allegations of staff member misconduct and other matters in consultation with the Department of Internal Oversight Services, HQ, as appropriate.

Serves on and provides legal advice to various Boards and Committees as requested, including as member of the Local Committee on Procurement.


UN Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism and Respect for Diversity, and Core Competencies of Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results apply by default.

- Deciding and Initiating Action
- Analyzing
- Relating and Networking
- Delivering Results
- Managing Complexity and Change
- Ability to negotiate effectively..
- Good English drafting skills.
- Ability to progress with work independently and to participate as a member of a team.

For guidance on how to prepare for competency-based interviews:


Advanced university degree from an accredited education institution in Law preferably with specialization in international, administrative/public, employment, or commercial law and preferably admission to practice law in a recognized jurisdiction.

Work Experience

At least eight years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience as a lawyer in the United Nations, other international organization, government service, the commercial/private sector or NGO, including a period of experience in contract or commercial law, or administrative or employment law is required.

Unless already serving as an international staff member in the UN Common System, a minimum of 2 continuous years of relevant international experience outside UNRWA, and outside the country(s) of citizenship is required.

Advanced university degree from an accredited education institution in Law preferably with specialization in international, administrative/public, employment, or commercial law and preferably admission to practice law in a recognized jurisdiction is required.

Knowledge of the history and contemporary issues of the Middle East is desirable.

Familiarity with the UN Common system and practices is desirable.


Excellent command of written and spoken English.

Working knowledge of spoken and written Arabic;


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Type of Contract and duration: 2 years, with the possibility of further extension.

The Head Field Legal Office will be required to reside in her/his duty station and may travel occasionally to other areas of the Agency's operations in the Middle East.

Applicants have to complete the Personal History Profile (PHP) in inspira in order to be considered. The PHP should be completed with full relevant work experience as per the requirements in the Job Opening, in order to be considered.

UNRWA welcomes applications from qualified candidates with disabilities.

A roster may be created from the selection exercise, and successful candidates may become eligible for appointment to the same post or a similar post.

A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
NB: work experience alone or formal qualifications with no relevant work experience are not considered an acceptable combination.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states, regional bodies, business foundations and individual contributions. The mission of UNRWA is to help Palestine refugees achieve their full potential in human development under the difficult circumstances in which they live.

For more details on UNRWA, please visit:

United Nations Considerations

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA and to assignment by him or her.

UNRWA is committed to achieving Gender Parity at all levels of staffing under the current UN-wide gender agenda and strongly encourages applications from qualified applicants from under-represented groups.

At UNRWA, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. UNRWA is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

UNRWA Considerations
UNRWA staff are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence, neutrality, impartiality and integrity. This includes respect for and commitment to human rights, diversity and non-violent means of dealing with all kinds of conflict. Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for UNRWA jobs. Candidates will not be considered for employment with UNRWA if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment. The Agency may disqualify applicants who have separated for reason of misconduct, who left a UN Agency while misconduct processes were pending, or who appear on the UN Sanctions List.
UNRWA is a non-smoking work environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

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