Photo of microphone in UN Dispute Tribunal courtroom in New York.
The UNDT Courtroom in New York.

Before the UN Dispute Tribunal, an applicant is allowed to be represented by:

  1. An attorney or volunteer counsel from the Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA) which will not charge you a fee for any of its services, whether for giving you advice prior to filing an application or after you file your application, or for representing you before the UNDT (see Legal Assistance for Staff);
  2. A private attorney who is licensed and authorized to practice law in a national jurisdiction, chosen and hired by you, at your own expense;
  3. A staff member or a former staff member of the United Nations or one of the specialized agencies.
  4. Yourself. You can represent yourself before the UNDT.


As stated above, you may represent yourself before the UNDT. If you represent yourself, you should read through all the documentation listed in What You Should Read section of this website, and, additionally, review all the information in all other sections of this website, so you will be fully informed about the UNDT and its work, moving forward.

Toolkit for self-represented litigants (UNDT) – interactive video

Toolkit for self-represented litigants (UNDT) – text


You are strongly encouraged to seek legal assistance through an attorney or volunteer counsel before filing your application to the UNDT so you can:

  • get advice on your application to the UNDT before you file it, in order to have someone to listen to your grievance, give you objective feedback on the merits of your case, tell you what your options might be before you file your application to the UNDT, and make sure that you understand all applicable procedures and comply with all the requirements and deadlines if you choose to use the formal justice system (the UNDT);
  • get advice on your case after the filing, so you know what you need to do in order to prepare yourself for any UNDT case proceedings that might take place and a UNDT hearing if one is scheduled;
  • have a qualified attorney representing you and your interest before the UNDT, for UNDT case proceedings and a UNDT hearing, if one is scheduled.


If you choose to have an attorney represent you, you need to fill in and send to the UNDT the Legal Representative Authorization Form on which you provide your signed authorization for the legal representative to represent you.


You may change counsel at any time during the proceedings. If you do change counsel during the proceedings, the UNDT must be notified immediately and provided with the new counsel’s contact details and, as relevant, with your signed authorization for the new counsel. You can also decide not to be represented by a at any time during the proceedings, or – if you were not represented by a before or at the beginning of the proceedings – you can choose a when the case is ongoing and inform the UNDT accordingly.


If you decide to be represented by more than one Counsel, a lead Counsel must be designated and that lead Counsel must correspond with UNDT through the Registry, conduct the case and make all written and oral submissions, unless the Judge decides otherwise on good cause shown. Nonetheless, a “Legal Representative Authorization Form” must be provided for each Counsel.


All litigants in person and counsel appearing before the UNDT must follow the code of conduct for legal representatives and litigants in person.

A counsel authorized to practice law in a national jurisdiction is also subject to the ethics rules of her or his national bar associations.

Staff members of the United Nations who represent the Applicant (you) are subject to the rules and regulations governing the conduct of staff members in their respective organization.


For more details on legal representation, read the following:

Practice Direction on Legal Representation.