The Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes offers dedicated informal dispute-resolution services to all contract holders from UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and UN Women in an informal, confidential manner with the aim of maintaining a harmonious workplace environment. The Ombudsman does not advocate for any party in a dispute but rather assists in seeing that all members of the work force are treated equitably, and that justice is done.
Non-staff contracts provide for a formal recourse for resolving disputes via arbitration under the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). As part of the efforts to improve ways of responding to grievances, the Office of the Ombudsman will facilitate arbitration access services on an interim basis, which include developing lists of experienced arbitrators and counsel that would be available to work on disputes involving non-staff personnel on a pro-bono or reduced-fee basis, as well as training on arbitration.
It is the parties that select counsel and/or arbitrators; the Ombudsman Office will not engage in the selection process. The lists of counsel and arbitrators are meant to be recommended lists to guide both non-staff parties and organizations in selecting relevant specialists.
- Has a thorough understanding of and significant experience in the arbitration process. Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of the subject matter, is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, and observes deadlines.
- Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
- Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients”; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.
- Identifies the key issues in a complex situation; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the organization; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision.
The applicants shall meet the following criteria in order to qualify for Counsel:
- Law degree from accredited University is required. Advanced degree in law is as asset.
- Minimum of 5 years of experience in arbitration proceedings as counsel or arbitrator, particularly under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules.
- Qualification as a lawyer at least in one jurisdiction.
- Experience with an international law firm, multinational corporation, prominent arbitration institution, or government representing parties in, or managing arbitration proceedings.
- Knowledge of the United Nations legal rules and the jurisprudence of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal is an asset.
- Experience in employment/labor arbitrations is an asset.
- Fluency in English is required. Fluency in other United Nations languages is an asset.
A selected candidate that meets the requirements for both Counsel and Arbitrator may choose to be included on one Lists or both Lists, provided that no conflict of interest is identified.
Please note that the lists are recommended lists only. The Office of the Ombudsman would not take any responsibility for providing any services of Counsel or Arbitrators, nor would the Office manage the members.
If selected, counsel will be requested to subscribe to the following pledge.
- Service. I will conduct at least one arbitration case on a pro-bono or a reduced fee basis (communicated in advance) representing non-staff personnel as Counsel;
- Pleadings. If agreed by both parties, as Counsel, I will limit the number of pleadings to two submissions, each at a maximum of 15 pages in length;
- Hearings. I will strive to conduct arbitrations on the basis of documents and other materials only, unless both parties request a hearing in writing;
- Timeliness. I will strive to conclude the arbitration proceedings within 90 days (including the time of issuing the award, if applicable) unless both parties, in consultation with the arbitrator(s), request an extension for an additional period of up to 60 days; and
- Mediation Encouragement. I will strongly encourage my client to consider mediation as the first step to resolve the conflict and will seriously consider an invitation of the other party and/or arbitrator(s) to mediate the matter.
To be considered for the Global Arbitration Counsel List, please submit your proposal that includes the following documents in one pdf document:
- Resume (not more than two pages); If you are applying on behalf of your law firm/organization, please indicate and include information about the firm/organization (not more than four pages)
- Signed letter confirming adherence to the respective pledge
- Letter indicating the details of pro-bono/reduced fee commitment