United Nations Office of Legal Affairs

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Hans Correll, former head of the Office of Legal Affairs in the United Nations Secretariat.

The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs is a United Nations agency, established in 1946, that performs several key functions in the area of international law.

It is currently administered by Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations Miguel de Serpa Soares.


The Office consists of six units:

  • Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC)
  • General Legal Division (GLD)
  • Codification Division (COD)
  • Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS)
  • International Trade Law Division (ITLD)
  • Treaty Section (TREATY).


After their adoption, Treaties as well as their amendments have to follow the official legal procedures of the United Nations, as applied by the Office of Legal Affairs, including signature, ratification and entry into force.

See also[edit]


  • Hans Corell: United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, in: Karel Wellens (ed.): International Law: Theory and Practice. Essays in Honour of Eric Suy, The Hague/Boston/London: Martinus Nijhoff 1998, pp. 305–322.

External links[edit]