OSLA has represented staff in over 1,000 cases before the UN Dispute Tribunal, and in over 500 cases before the UN Appeals Tribunal

OSLA provides independent, professional, and confidential legal advice and representation to staff members of the UN and many UN-system agencies, funds and programmes, in relation to their employment.


OSLA offers specialist legal advice and assistance regarding employment by the United Nations. If you feel that your contract of employment or terms of appointment have been breached, OSLA can advise you on the way forward. You can approach OSLA at any stage of a dispute, or even in anticipation of a dispute.

OSLA provides advice on the UN Staff Rules and Regulations and other Administrative issuances; entitlements and benefits; harassment and abuse of authority, investigations and disciplinary processes; assignment and recruitment; as well as separation from service and pension matters. And if you just have general questions about your legal rights or responsibilities within the UN, OSLA can help.


Established as part of the reform of the internal justice system of the United Nations, OSLA also provides assistance with, and formal representation in, cases before the United Nations Dispute and Appeals Tribunals, and with the preparation of requests for Management Evaluation under Staff Rule 11.2. Formal representation includes preparing written submissions to the MEU or Tribunals and oral advocacy before the Tribunals, as necessary. Trials at the UNDT level include oral submissions (speeches and argumentation) and examination and cross-examination of witnesses.


OSLA can help in other contexts as well. OSLA can assist in negotiating informal resolution of a dispute, either with or without the involvement of the Ombudsman’s office. Around 60% of our work results in informal resolution. If in doubt whether OSLA can help you or not, please get in touch with OSLA at: (email or contact form)

Photo of two volume commentary on UN Charter
“As well as your contract of employment, the Charter of the UN, its Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances such as Secretary-General’s Bulletins, Administrative Instructions, and Information Circulars, form the legislative framework within which we work. The Tribunals will also refer to international conventions; general principles of law in both common law and civil law jurisdictions; as well as cases from the higher courts in those jurisdictions. It is a complex and niche area of law to work in, and requires careful study.”

Katya Melluish, Chief of OSLA

Around 60% of OSLA's cases are resolved without recourse to any formal mechanism.