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Legal Specialist


Grade: P4  

Vacancy no.: RAPS/4/2018/NORMES/01
Publication date: 21 December 2018
Application deadline (midnight Geneva time): 31 January 2019


Job ID: 916 
Department: NORMES 
Organization Unit: APPL 
Location: Geneva   
Contract type: Fixed Term 


The following are eligible to apply:

  • ILO Internal candidates in accordance with paragraphs 31 and 32 of Annex I of the Staff Regulations.
  • External candidates.


Staff members with at least five years of continuous service with the Office are encouraged to apply and will be given special consideration at the screening and evaluation stage.


Applications from officials who have reached, or will reach their age of retirement as defined in Article 11.3 of the Staff Regulations on or before 31 December 2017, or who have already separated from ILO service upon retirement or early retirement, will not be considered.


The ILO values diversity among its staff. We welcome applications from qualified women and men, including those with disabilities. If you are unable to complete our online application form due to a disability, please send an email to


Applications from qualified candidates from non- or under-represented member States, or from those member States which staffing forecasts indicate will become non- or under-represented in the near future, would be particularly welcome. A list of these countries can be found here:


Successful completion of the Assessment Centre is required for all external candidates.


The position is located in the International Labour Standards Department (NORMES) - Application of Standards Branch (APPL).

NORMES strives to enhance the relevance of international labour standards to the world of work and to ensure their role as a useful means of achieving the constitutional objectives of the Organization, as well as the ILO strategic objectives, as called for by the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.

More specifically, NORMES is responsible for: (i) designing and implementing the ILO’s standards-related activities in accordance with the standards policy adopted by the Governing Body; (ii) supporting and servicing all ILO supervisory bodies; and (iii) promoting Office-wide coherence and cooperation on international labour standards.

The Legal Specialist will be assigned to one of the four thematic units of APPL. The thematic units provide support to the supervisory bodies and technical assistance to countries on the broad range of subjects covered by international labour standards, including: child labour, forced labour, equality and non-discrimination, labour administration, labour inspection, occupational safety and health, social security, wages, working time, migrant workers, seafarers, fishers, as well as indigenous and tribal peoples. The Legal Specialist may periodically be called on to change from a thematic unit to another, or to work within various units, so as to respond to the evolving workload within the Branch and the Department.

The incumbent will report to the corresponding Head of Unit(s) within the APPL Branch. 

Specific Duties

1. Prepare comments for the supervisory bodies, in particular the Committee of Experts, with little technical supervision, carry out autonomous legal analysis, advise constituents, including on sensitive issues, and seek guidance on political matters as required. Carry out detailed research and take responsibility for the preparation of technical papers to facilitate understanding of common trends in the area. Provide technical assistance, guidance and support to other colleagues with respect to Conventions falling under his/her technical area of expertise.

2. Coordinate relevant programmes and plans of action at country level and/or participate in the preparation of relevant global tools contributing to the effective implementation of the Conventions. Facilitate cross–sector participation in the realisation of this objective.

3. Plan, organize and provide technical assistance and training to member States, social partners and other relevant institutional partners, independently, with the aim of promoting the ratification and effective implementation of international labour standards in the light of the supervisory bodies' comments.


4. Perform other relevant duties as assigned.

These specific duties are aligned with the relevant ILO generic job description, which includes the following generic duties:


Generic Duties

  1. Examine reports by governments on ratified and unratified Conventions and Recommendations.  Examine and analyse complaints.  Prepare comparative analyses of the legislation and practice of the different member States. Draft comments for presentation to and discussion with high-level committees and/or groups of experts. Provide advice to colleagues on labour standards under the incumbent’s responsibility.
  2. Prepare legal opinions and interpretations on a variety of legal questions or in a specialized field.
  3. Prepare notes, reports and documents concerning questions of international law or labour standards, including requests for interpretations on complex legal questions, for consideration by governments, the Governing Body, the International Labour Conference and the Director-General. Develop strategies for follow-up to decisions made by policy bodies. 
  4. Analyse draft labour legislation submitted by governments to the ILO for comments prior to adoption.
  5. Undertake research and write studies on complex problems (i.e. judging compatibility between legislation and practice) relating to international labour standards, labour law and labour relations, as well as prepare general surveys, manuals and articles.  Supervise the preparation of statements on questions of public international law relevant to the work of the ILO.  Advise on the position to be taken by the Organization on these issues.
  6. Review and approve instruments of ratification.
  7. Provide technical support to special tripartite committees established by the Governing Body or commissions of inquiry to examine alleged infringements of ratified Conventions.
  8. Represent the work unit at meetings, including Conference committees and industrial committees, to provide advice on legal questions or questions concerning international labour standards or labour relations. Act as adviser to Conference committees and assist in the drafting of international legal instruments and participate in pre-conference work, including drafting committees. Represent the Office at meetings of other international organizations.
  9. Develop, plan and implement technical advisory and promotional activities, including tripartite seminars, workshops, lectures and discussion groups. Represent the Office on missions which may be of a sensitive or controversial nature and before judicial bodies.  Represent the work unit on internal committees or at inter-agency meetings.
  10. Participate in the secretariat of various committees dealing with legal issues or labour standards, including preparation of background material and documents, drafting records of meetings, drafting reports, etc

optional section (only if needed)

Required qualifications


Advanced university degree in law.


Minimum of eight years’ practical experience at the national level or at least six years at the international level.  

Knowledge and experience in maritime conventions would be an asset.



Excellent command of two working languages (English, French, Spanish) of the Organization. A working knowledge of the third working language would be an advantage.


In addition to the ILO core competencies, this position requires:


Ability to: design research studies and conduct comparative analyses involving the application of principles of law to the analysis of administrative, substantive and procedural problems of substantial intricacy; prepare responses to enquiries in a clear and concise manner and good communication skills to explain the Office's position; keep up-to-date with new developments in the occupational area, advise and persuade colleagues and constituents on legal questions.



Ability to: carry out assignments in accordance with instructions and guidelines; work within tight deadlines and respect confidentiality; deal with colleagues and constituents with tact and discretion. Ability to work in a multicultural environment and to demonstrate gender-sensitive and non-discriminatory behaviour and attitudes.




Conditions of employment

  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to ILO Staff Regulations and other relevant internal rules. Any offer of employment with the ILO is conditional upon certification by the ILO Medical Adviser that the person concerned is medically fit to perform the specific inherent requirements of the position offered. In order to confirm an offer from the ILO the successful candidate will be required to undergo a medical examination.
  • The first contract will be issued for a twenty-four month period.
  • A successful external candidate will be on probation for the first two years of assignment.
  • Any extension of contract beyond the probation period is subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.

For more information on conditions of employment, please visit:


Recruitment process

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application form. To apply, please visit the ILO Jobs website at The system provides instructions for online application procedures.


Evaluation (which may include one or several written tests and a pre-interview competency-based assessment centre) and the interviews will tentatively take place during the 3 to 4 months following the application deadline. Candidates are requested to ensure their availability should they be short listed for further consideration.


Depending on the location and availability of candidates, assessors and interview panel members, the ILO may use communication technologies such as Skype, Video or teleconference, e-mail, etc for the assessment and evaluation of candidates at the different stages of the recruitment process, including assessment centres, technical tests or interviews.


Fraud warning

The ILO does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process whether at the application, interview, processing or training stage. Messages originating from a non ILO e-mail account - - should be disregarded. In addition, the ILO does not require or need to know any information relating to the bank account details of applicants.