United Nations Office of Legal Affairs
The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs is a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 agency, established in 1946, that performs several key functions in the area of international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...


It is currently administered by Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations Patricia O'Brien.


The Office consists of six units:
  • Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC)
  • General Legal Division (GLD)
  • Codification Division (COD)
  • Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
    Law of the sea
    Law of the sea may refer to:* United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea* Admiralty law* The Custom of the Sea...

  • International Trade Law
    International trade law
    International trade law includes the appropriate rules and customs for handling trade between countries. However, it is also used in legal writings as trade between private sectors, which is not right. This branch of law is now an independent field of study as most governments has become part of...

     Division (ITLD)
  • Treaty
    A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

     Section (TREATY).


After their adoption, Treaties as well as their amendments have to follow the official legal procedures of the United Nations, as applied by the Office of Legal Affairs, including signature
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

, ratification
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principal. The term applies to private contract law, international treaties, and constitutionals in federations such as the United States and Canada.- Private law :In contract law, the...

 and entry into force.

See also

  • United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal)
  • International conventions on terrorism
  • International Law Commission
    International Law Commission
    The International Law Commission was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 for the "promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification."It holds an annual session at the United Nations Office at Geneva....

  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

External links

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