WHAT IS OSLA?
The Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA) provides legal advice and representation to staff, former staff, and dependents of the United Nations and many UN system entities, who wish to appeal an adverse decision taken by their employer or who are subject to disciplinary action.
WHAT OSLA DOES
OSLA provides independent legal advice and assistance.
OSLA is a team of qualified attorneys and courtroom advocates.
OSLA has lawyers who are independent, objective and trained to advise clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
OSLA lawyers have specialist knowledge and experience in the law applicable to the United Nations staff members, and in appearing before the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunals (UNDT and UNAT).
All OSLA legal officers are qualified legal professionals, who abide by the ethical codes of the Bar in jurisdictions in which they qualified. Additionally, OSLA has its own Code of Conduct, and since January 2017 OSLA lawyers are also bound by the Code of Conduct for Legal Representatives and Litigants in Person, applicable to the UNDT and UNAT.
OSLA has offices in New York, Nairobi, Geneva, Beirut and Addis Ababa and from those offices can help UN system staff wherever they may work. See the complete list of UN entities whose staff members have recourse to OSLA.
HOW OSLA DIFFERS FROM THE STAFF UNIONS, THE UN OMBUDSMAN, THE ETHICS OFFICE OR OIOS
OSLA’s role is to provide legal advice and representation to staff in relation to the Organization’s formal internal justice system. OSLA is the only office in the UN system to provide this service. It is independent and is not affiliated with the Staff Unions, Ombudsman or the other UN offices involved in resolving employment disputes. While OSLA may deal with, and speak to, other offices in relation to any particular case, it will only do so with a client’s prior consent.
If you feel that any of the Ombudsman, the Ethics Office, the Staff Union, and OSLA may be able to help you, you may approach any or all of these offices with your concerns, and you may do so simultaneously.
”As a legal officer with OSLA, I regularly represent staff members who are subject to disciplinary proceedings and against whom allegations of misconduct have been made. I feel privileged to be able to defend UN staff, particularly in those difficult moments where staff members are in most need of attention and care. It is my duty to act in their best interest and to explore all avenues of defence. In OSLA, we strive to ensure that all staff members are treated fairly, justly and with full respect for their dignity. Disciplinary cases are often very complex and their outcome could be decisive. It is therefore important to obtain adequate legal assistance and counselling at an early stage. Even when misconduct is not disputed, we do our best to convey the staff member’s views and highlight mitigating circumstances to ensure that the sanction imposed is proportionate.”
Mohamed Abdou, OSLA Legal Officer