WHY THE UN NEEDS AN INTERNAL SYSTEM OF JUSTICE

Work-related disputes at the United Nations cannot be resolved through national courts due to the Organization’s unique international legal status. For this reason, the Organization provides an internal system of justice for all UN system staff.

This website explains the various components of the UN’s internal system of justice, and describes how to resolve work-related disputes informally and if necessary, formally. Staff should review this website to learn about the resources available to them when seeking resolution of a dispute and the steps they need to take to proceed.

Learn more about the UN's internal justice system.→

New! A Staff Member’s Guide to Resolving Disputes →


CONFLICT TO DIALOGUE

RESOLVING DISPUTES INFORMALLY

Staff members should first try to resolve disputes informally, through dialogue, negotiation, and if necessary, mediation, before bringing their grievance to the formal legal process. Informal resolution of disputes takes less time than formal resolution, and gives the parties greater control over the process. It also often leads to more mutually beneficial solutions than formal legal action. Informal resolution can be achieved through:

Photo of two hands shaking

CONFLICT TO TRIBUNAL

RESOLVING DISPUTES FORMALLY

Staff members of the UN Secretariat, UN funds and programmes, and some other entities can formally contest any administrative decision they believe has violated their rights. Each step of the formal process has strict time limits. In most cases, the first step in the formal process is to request a management evaluation of the decision being contested. Informal resolution remains an option during the formal process.

Photo of three empty judge's chairs in the UN Dispute Tribunal courtroom in New York
Photo of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld

❝ To build a world of justice, we must be just. ❞

— Dag Hammarskjöld

A new system for the administration of justice at the UN, approved by the General Assembly in 2008, went into effect 1 July 2009.

WHAT UN STAFF SHOULD KNOW:

DISPUTES CAN BE RESOLVED INFORMALLY

LEGAL COUNSEL IS AVAILABLE WITH NO FEE

THE FORMAL SYSTEM HAS STRICT DEADLINES